Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Dhamma Day, Asalha Puja

Asalha Puja Day also known as Dhamma Day. It is one of the most important festivals of the Theravada Buddhists.

Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day marks the beginning of the Buddha's teaching. It commemorates the Buddha's first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist Sangha.

The discourse (known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, or The First Turning of the Wheel of the Dhamma) consisted of the essence of all of the Buddha's future teachings and was delivered to his first disciples, the five aesthetics with whom he had previously practiced.

In this message the Buddha taught the Middle Way, the Noble Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths. Upon hearing this discourse, one of the monks ( Ven. Kondañña) gained his first glimpse of Nibbana, thus giving birth to the Noble Sangha and completing the Triple Gem, which consists of the Buddha, his teaching, and the monks who further propagate the Buddha’s teaching.

Asalha Puja Day is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eighth lunar month (July) - in 2009 it is on Tuesday, July 7th, today. The annual Rains retreat (vassa) begins the following day.

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