There are two Buddhist holy days in July. Asaha Puja Day or Sangha Day and the beginning of Buddhist Lent, Wan Khao Punsa.
They are official holidays in Thailand and many people go to temples for special ceremonies.
"Asaha" means the eighth lunar month and Asaha Puja means the ceremony in the eighth lunar month.
On the full moon day of the eighth lunar month, the Lord Buddha gave his first sermon and one of his followers became the first Buddhist monk. The followers of the Buddha are together called the Sangkha, and that is why Asaha Puja is called "Sangha Day".
During his first sermon, the Buddha talked about "The Middle Way", which means that we should try hard enough but not to hard. If we wish to be successful in Spiritual life, we should avoid the two extremes: 1. Trying too hard, such as not eating or not sleeping enough and 2. Not trying hard enough, such as eating and sleeping too much.
He also spoke about the Noble Eightfold Path. This path tells us 1. live in a way that does not harm ourselves or others, 2. to help ourselves and others and 3. to purify the mind. He said
And purify the mind.
He gave eight guidelines to help us to live i this way., and together they are called the Noble Eightfold Path. He advised people to speak and act and earn their living in good ways. He also advised them to practise meditation to purify their minds. Then they can get deep wisdom (Panya in Thai).
When people go to the temples on Asaha Puja Day and when they ordain as monks, novices or nuns, they try to live by the Noble Eightfold Path.
|Pictures of students from my old school. They are walking around the bot three times with a big candle and things the monks need.||Next they went in the wihan and listened to the monks chanting.|
Story by Helen Jandamit from Student Weekly.
Pictures by Richard Barrow.