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Magha Buja

Magha Puja is a Buddhist festival that is observed in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. It commemorates an important event during the lifetime of Lord Buddha called the Fourfold Assembly. On the full moon night of the third lunar month, a large assembly of monks gathered in the presence of Lord Buddha at Veluvana (bamboo) grove near Rajagaha, nowadays  in India. According to tradition, the event was characterized by four extraordinary marks:
1. The meeting happened spontaneously without prior scheduling or coordination. A total of 1,250 monks were present at the meeting.
2. All 1,250 monks were arhats, who have achieved the stage of nirvana.
3. All 1,250 monks were ordained by Lord Buddha.
4. The meeting happened on the full moon night of the third lunar month.

 

  

 

On this occasion, Lord Buddha delivered a sermon called the Ovādapatimokkha, which summarizes the core of Buddhism, including the Three Principles, Four Ideals, and Six Practices.

The Three Principles include: 1. To refrain from all evil doings; 2. To fully cultivate wholesome actions; and, 3. To purify one’s mind.

The Four Ideals include: 1. Forbearance from doing evil; 2. Not harming others; 3. Peace/Reserving oneself; and, 4. Nirvana (the extinguishing of all sufferings) which is the highest goal.

The Six Practices include: 1. To speak no ill; 2. To do no harm; 3. To keep with the precepts; 4. To be modest in eating; 5. To live in places of recluse; and,  6. To train one’s mind to be at peace.

  

 

It is believed that the celebration of Magha Puja began when King Rama IV or King Mongkut ordered for the occasion to be observed as a royal celebration, through acts of merit-making. Consequently, Magha Puja became a public practice and it is celebrated today as a national holiday in Thailand. On this day, Thai people will focus on observing precepts, going to temples to make merits, reciting Buddhist scriptures, and joining in a special ritual called Wian Tian or circumambulation around religious sites three times while holding lighted candles, incense, and flowers.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magha_Puja

https://th.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%86%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%B9%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%B2

http://buddhism.org/Sutras/DHARMA/Tripitaka/OvadaPatimokkha.htm

http://watpacph.org/2010-02-09-22-07-15-2/

https://www.thairath.co.th/content/1216295

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