Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016

It's the last day of a very long free weekend for the Thai population because of the Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016.
Since both days were on a Tuesday and Wednesday, the Monday became a day off as well and a long weekend was vreated with thousands of Thais and expats enjoying the occasion and taking trips in and outside of Thailand.
Koh Samui was busy and with the usual sumer holiday travellers from Europe, the flights and ferries were and are today again chock full.

All public offices like schools and banks are closed although banks do open on Khao Pansa day again but our children are still enjoying a day off from school today.

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016; Buddha's firtst sermon in Benares, India

Asahna Bucha day or WAN ASANA BUCHA – วันอาสาฬหบูชา is the first full moon of the eighth lunar month (usually in July) and commemorates the Buddha's first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares in India and the founding of the Buddhist sangha (monkhood) about 2,500 years ago.

In the sermon, which is known as 'Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion', the Buddha first spelled out the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The day marks the beginning of Vassa, the Buddhist lent period also known as the 'Rains Retreat'.

This was celebrated yesterday, 19th July 2016.

Many Thai people will return to their ancestral homes to worship in their local temple and to bring offerings for the monks. In the evening they will often perform a wien tien, where they walk clockwise around the main shrine of the temple carrying a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bed. This is done a few times per year at our local Wat Plai Laem or Wat Suwannaram temple. During the day, monks chant mantras or repeat the first sermon of the Buddha.

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016

Asahna Bucha and Khao Pansa days in 2016;

WAN KHAO PANSA – วันเข้าพรรษา or Khao Pansa day Wan Khao Pansa (วันเข้าพรรษา) means the day of entering the rains retreat. This is a three-month annual retreat usually undertaken from July to October, during which monks must stay at the same temple, and refrain from wandering around the countryside. In India, it is known as Vassa. It begins on the day after Asahna Bucha. The tradition dates from the time of the Buddha, when he forbade monks to travel during the rainy season for fear that they might unintentionally harm crops or insects in the places where they walked.

In Thailand, monks use the retreat to meditate more intensively. Lay people will often use this period to adopt more ascetic practices, abstaining from meat, alcohol or cigarettes, for example. You can find a lot more vegetarian food being easily available at restaurants during this period (ahaan dcheh). Wan Khao Pansa is often referred to as Buddhist Lent, as its emphases on reflection and self-denial bear outward resemblance to the Christian Lenten period (though pre-dating it by over 500 years). It is also a time when many young Thai men ordain and join the monkhood for part or all of the period of the rains retreat. This is a traditional rite of passage for most young Thai men, and it creates valuable merit for the whole family.

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