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Asalha Puja Day

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2020-07-20 14:27:25

Asalha Puja Day 

          Dr.Suttipong Srivichai and Dr.Suthira Duangsamosorn translated the significance and Historical Background nof Asalha Puja Day as follows;

  Significance

          Asalha Puja Day, one of the most sacred days in Buddhism, is observed on the 15th Day of the Waxing Moon in the Eight Lunar Month to commemorate the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first Sermon, or Dhammachakkappavattanasutr, before the first five disciples in Buddhism. The day also marks the beginning of the worship of the Triple Gem, namely: the Lord Buddha, His Teachings and His Disciples.

In his First Sermon, Lord Buddha taught the Middle Way or, Majjimapatipada, and how to reach Nirvana, and as a result one of the five ascetics who was named Kondanya, attained enlightenment. In recognition Thailand was the first Buddhist country to recognise the importance of the day, as a sacred and national holiday.

Historical Background

          When Lord Buddha attained enlightenment on the Fullmoon Day of the 6th Lunar Month, he remained near the Bodhi Three, where he had attained enlightenment, for seven weeks. During that time, he was thinking whether he should teach what he had discovered in his meditation, and who would be the right persons to receive his teaching. He immediately thought of his former teachers, Alaradabos and Uttakadabos, who had reached a high level of absorption, or Chana, and he regretted that both of them had already passed away. He then thought of the five ascetics, or Panjavaggi, with whom he had practised penance for many years: Kondanya, Vappa, Bhattiya, Mahanama, and Assaji. Lord Buddha reckoned that they were ascetics and of good innate character and able to absorb his doctrine. Therefore, Lord Buddha left Gaya, his place of enlightenment at Uruvelasenanigom, for the Deer Park near Benares.

          On the Fullmoon Day of the Eighth Month (one day before Buddhist Lent), Lord Buddha expounded his first sermon, commonly known as the Great Discourse on the End of the Ultimate, to his five disciples at the Isipatanamaruegatayavan forest.

          In this first sermon, Lord Buddha taught the Middle Way which means that an ordained person should not practise extreme self-indulgence on the one hand (Kamasukkahallikanuyoga) or extreme self-mortification (Attakilamathanuyok) on the other.

          He told his disciples that by following the Middle Way (Majjimapatipada) the person who practised this way could reach Nirvana, the enlightened state. Lord Buddha explained his theory of the Four Noble Truths, or Ariyasajja namely that there was Suffering (Dukkha), there were causes of Suffering (Samudaya), how the Suffering could be extinguished (Nirodha), and the path leading to cessation of Suffering (Nirvana).

          The Eightfold Path or Magga could lead to the cessation of suffering, which Lord Buddha described as follows: Right View or Right Understanding (Sammaditthi), Right Thought (Samma Sangkappa), Right Speech (Samma Vaja), Right Action (Samma Kamanta), Right Livelihood (Samma Ajeeva), Right Effort (Samma Vayama), Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati), and Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi).

          At the end of this sermon (Phradhammadesana), Kondanya gained insight into the real nature of things (or Dharma) and Lord Buddha acknowledged his new state of enlightenment by saying "Kondanya knows!”

Kondanya then requested to become Lord Buddha’s disciple and the Lord Buddha ordained him by saying "Ehibhikkhu-Upasampada”, bringing into existence the Third Gem.

Dr. Somboon Duangsamosorn and Dr. Suthira Duangsamosorn. Asalha Puja DayRetrieved on 2 July 2020, from https://www.m-culture.go.th/en/article_view.php?nid=40