Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thais Urged To Practice Dhamma

Thais are encouraged to use the approaching Asalha Puja and Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent) Days as a starting point to uphold dhamma, observe the five precepts, and realize potentials to contribute good things to the society.

The weekly television program “Confidence in Thailand with Prime Minister Abhisit” which was aired two days ago featured a dhamma talk between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Most Venerable Prof Dr Phra Dharmakosajarn, the Chief Abbot of Wat Prayurawongsawat. The Most Venerable Prof Dr Phra Dharmakosajarn, also the Rector of the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, suggested that people should adhere to dhamma in Buddhism and observe the five precepts for the sake of themselves and the nation as a whole.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit asked Thai people to observe the five precepts, practice dhamma, and envisage how they want the country to move forward. He urged that each individual think how to contribute good things to the nation. The Prime Minister then expressed his own wish that he would like to see the country move towards reconciliation and unity, while Thai people could enjoy equal opportunity and better quality of life.

'Asalha Puja Day' is marked as the day when the first sermon of the Lord Buddha was given to his first five disciples Kondanna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and Assaji after his enlightenment. Kondanna became the first Buddhist monk, completing the Triple Gem of Buddhism, the Lord Buddha, his teachings, Dhamma, and Sangha, the Buddhist monks.

The Lord Buddha delivered what is known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, or the Wheel of Dharma. The main theme involves the Four Noble Truths: suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the way to end suffering. These truths are universal truths.

Asalha Puja Day falls on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month which is usually in July and Buddhists throughout Thailand and around the world have commemorated this sacred day through several activities with the aim to purify their spirit.

On Asalha Puja Day, Buddhists go to the temple to make merit and practice Dhamma. They also donate basic necessities to the monks and listen to Dhamma preaching to refresh their minds. In the evening, Wian Thian or candle procession ceremony is held, Buddhist participants with the offerings as candles, joss sticks and flowers make candlelit processions around the prayer hall or the pagoda while praying along with the monks. They are bound to avoid alcoholic drinks and all kinds of immoral acts and perform good deeds.

On 26 July, celebrations were held in all provinces led by the provincial governors in presenting food offering to monks, practicing Dhamma and performing the Wian Thian ceremony, with the hope to instill Buddhist principles among Thai youth so that they have correct understanding of Dhamma and can bring the Buddhist teachings to be adopted in their lives.

On the occasion of the Asalha Puja Day, commemorating the official establishment of Buddhism as a world religion, Thai Buddhists are urged to rededicate themselves to Buddhist principles and to embrace the middle path and peace in their society.

The National Asalha Puja celebration in Nakhon Pathom province on July 26. It was officiated by the King of Thailand through his representative from the Royal Privy Council.

Another celebration held at the same venue but on different day attended by the Prime Minister