Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Makha Bucha Day

Today it's Makha Bucha Day; an important Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon day of Māgha in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, and on the full moon day of Tabodwe in Myanmar. The spiritual aims of the day are: not to commit any kind of sins; do only good; purify one's mind. Māgha Pūjā or Makha Bucha is a public holiday in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand - and is an occasion when Buddhists tend to go to the temple to perform merit-making activities.

Makha Bucha Day

Māgha Pūjā day marks the four auspicious occasions, which happened at Veḷuvana Bamboo Grove, near Rājagaha in Northern India ten months after the Enlightenment of the Buddha. On that occasion, as recorded in the commentary to the Mahāsamayasutta, DN-Comm 20) four marvellous events occurred:

  • 1,250 disciples came to see the Buddha that evening without being summoned.
  • All of them were Arhantas, Enlightened Ones, and all were ordained by the Buddha himself.
  • The Buddha gave those Arhantas the principles of Buddhism, called "The ovadapatimokha". Those principles are: To cease from all evil, To do what is good, To cleanse one's mind. In Thailand, this teaching has been dubbed the 'Heart of Buddhism'.
  • It was the full-moon day.

In the evening of Magha full-moon day, each temple in Thailand holds a candlelight procession called a wian thian (wian meaning to circle around; thian meaning candle). Holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle, the monks and congregation members circumambulate clockwise three times around the phra ubosot (ordination hall) - once for each of the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

Tham bun: Making merit by going to temples for special observances and join in the other Buddhist activities.

Rap sin': Keeping the Five Precepts. Practise of renunciation: Observe the Eight Precepts, practise of meditation and mental discipline, stay in the temple, wearing white robes, for a number of days.

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