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The Day the Buddha Came and Renunciation Day
The four major Buddhist holidays are: Buddha’s Birthday, Renunciation Day, Bodhi Day and Parinirvana Day. Buddha's Birthday, the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, is traditionally celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month. As the Buddha walked the bodhisattva path for countless lives and came to this world by his own choice, in Korea, his birthday is called “The Day the Buddha Came,” although it is generally called Buddha’s Birthday in the English-speaking world. The Day the Buddha Came is the biggest holiday among all the Buddhist holidays. As such, various celebratory events are held, including celebratory Dharma ceremonies and the Lotus Lantern Festival. The Buddha recited the following verse at birth.
Above the heavens and below the heavens I alone am most noble.
All that exists in the three worlds is suffering, but I will bring comfort.
-Vol. 8, Sutra of the Collection of the Past Activities of the Buddha
Renunciation Day is the day the Buddha left his palace to walk the spiritual path. The Buddha did so to save sentient beings from suffering and to resolve the great matter of the repeated cycle of birth and death. It is celebrated on the 8th day of the 2nd lunar month. On this day, Buddhists have commemorative Dharma gatherings to renew their vows to emulate the Buddha and become a bodhisattva who seeks enlightenment and teach others.
I became a renunciant to earn a peaceful, happy life without sickness, old age, death, worries and delusions. -Vol. 56, Madhyamagama (MN 26)
- excerpt from Buddhist English (Elementary 2) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism