Magha Puja Day
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Magha Puja Day
The Historical Background and the day's Meaning There are many important Buddhist holy days relating to the life of the Buddha. These days fall on the full moon day and eighth day of the waxing and waning moon. They are Visakha Puja Day (full moon day of the sixth lunar month), Asalha Puja Day (full moon day of the eighth lunar month), and Magha Puja Day (full moon day of the third lunar month). What is Magha Puja Day? When and where does this day take place? Magha Puja Day takes place on the full moon day of the third lunar month (around the full moon day of March). This day originally took place just two years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment. It occurred at the Bamboo Grove in rajagaha, a city in the Bihar state of
1. Not to do any bad deeds ("Sabbapapassa akaranam").
2. To do good deeds ("kusalassa upasampada").
3. To cleanse the mind of impurities ("sacittapariyodapanam").
These are the basic principles of Buddhism. These also were known as the Ovadapatimokkha (the fundamental principles of Buddhism). If all people from all walks of life were to follow these principles, human beings would have peaceful and happy lives. Our communities would be wonderful places in which to live. If we follow these principles, we can expect a peaceful family, a peaceful community, apeaceful nation, and a peaceful world. The doctrines considered next are very important for all to study and practice. They are known as keys for success given just three months before the Buddha's death. The Great Decision This first Magha puja Day happened in the early part of the Buddha's mission just two years after his Enlightenment. A second important event took place in the last year of the second part of the Buddha's life, on the full moon day of the third lunar month (March). The Buddha delivered a sermon called the "keys for success" (iddhipada dhamma). These keys are asfollows: 1. Good will, good intension, chanda 2. Effort, viriya 3. Thoughtfulness, citta 4. Investigation, vimangsa.Whatever we do, if we have good will, good intention; proper effort and patience; proper concentration; and investigation, or examination and testing, we will be successful in our daily work. As students, if we follow these principles, we will be successful in our studies. This is a scientific approach to life. Buddhism shows how people can develop into more perfect human beings through basic moral practice, mind training involving meditation, and wisdom training. This natural and scientific way of training and living promotes the real happiness and peace of all human beings and of all living beings in general. On the occasion of the "keys for success" sermon, the Buddha informed the Venerable Ananda, one of his main disciples, that he had decided to pass away on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month (May), three months later. This passing away was the Buddha's Parinibbana. These two important events, the Buddha's first sermon and his decision regarding his passing away, occurred on the full moon day of the magha month (late February,early March), at paval cetiya, in the city of Vesali in northeastern India. The Events of Magha Puja Day We pay homage to the three treasures of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha on the full moon day of the Magha month, Magha Pjua Day. Buddhists all over the world observe this holy day. What do Buddhists do on this special day? One day before Magha Puja Day, people clean up their houses, villages, roads, and cities for the whole day for the purposes of better sanitationand a good environment. The next day in the morning, they offer food to the monks and perform many other meritorious deeds. In the afternoon they give food to the poor and to handicapped people. Then people go to the monastery to observe the Five or the Eight Precepts and to listen to Dhamma talks. In the evenings everyone participates in a candlelight ceremony. All assemble on the monastery grounds with flowers, incense sticks, and lighted candles in their hands. They walk completely around the ordination hall where the image of the Buddha is located, keeping their right sides towards the hall as a sign of respect. They do this three times in what is called the triple circumambulation. As they walk they remember the virtues of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, and pay respect to them. They also respectfully commemorate the Iddhipada dhamma sermon and the Parinibbana decision of Lord Buddha. Some of the people may spend the night in the temple for meditation practice. All Buddhists should pay respect to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the sangha by following the said three principles of Buddhism in daily life.
The teachings of the Buddha have been summarized in three short but very powerful statements:
1. Avoid evil
2. Do good
3. Purify your mind
In order to accomplish these goals, here is some background that may prove helpful in understanding the Thai Theravada Buddhist way of life. The official national religion of
ed on the Sanskrit Scripture (the sacred Hindu language) but translated into Pali text. The following account gives some basic information about Buddhism and is taken, in part, from brochures published by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The Four Noble Truths
1. The Noble Truth of Suffering (dissatisfaction)Our suffering is caused by birth (re-birth), disease, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, despair, association with objects we dislike and separation from objects we love. Not to obtain what one desires causes suffering. There are many happy hours and pleasure in a person's lifetime but they are impermanent, lasting for a short time then vanishing into nothing, by the law of nature. In other words.... Please know that existence is but suffering caused by desire.
2. The Noble Truth o f the Cause and Origins of Suffering
The three-fold cravings are: sensual craving, craving for existence and craving for wealth and power. There are also further six-fold cravings: the eye craves forms, the ear craves sounds, the nose craves smells, the tongue craves tastes, the body craves tangible objects and the mind craves dreams and/or mental objects. Understand that these cravings and ignorance of the law of nature are the conditions of the origin of individual sufferings.
3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation or Extinction of Suffering
The condition of the cessation of suffering is the complete fading away and extinction of these three-fold cravings. Forsaking them, giving them up, and the liberation and detachment from them. Please note that when the mind has given up all these three-fold and further six-fold cravings, the realization of the Extinction of Craving or Nibbana (or Nirvana in Sanskrit), is then possible. This is the ultimate desire of desires, meaning therefore, the end of all suffering or dukka.
4. The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering
This is the Noble Eight-fold Path, also called the Middle Path because it avoids the two extremes of sensual pleasure and self-mortification. These are:
1. Right Knowledge and understanding: intellectual grasp of the teachings of Buddhism (called Dhamma), the Four Noble Truths and the Law of Kamma (or Karma in sanskrit), (cause and effect).
2. Right Intention and thought: elimination of all ambitions, revenge, hatred, greed, lust and violence.
3. Right Speech: stamping out all lies and controlling words. Being courteous, truthful, letting no evil words escape from the lips, being compassionate and full of sympathy, with a heart full of loving kindness and free from secret malice.
4. Right Action: meanin g the avoidance of destruction of any living being, of taking what has not been given, indulging in sensuality, slander, intoxicating liquor or harmful drugs.
5. Right Livelihood: that is, pursuing a trade or occupation compatible with the precepts.
6. Right Effort: preventing new evil from entering one's mind, removing all evil already there. To develop such good in one's mind and maintaining all of the goodness that is there.
7. Right Attentiveness: also called mindfulness: this is the continual recollection of all phenomena about bodily structure, all parts of the human body, all states of health, all impurity and purity of mind, contemplation of various states of mind and all kinds of temperaments.
8. Right Concentratio n: which is the threshold of Nibbana and consists of the four Great Efforts, namely, to avoid and overcome evil states of mind, to develop and to maintain a good state of mind. The purpose of attaining Right Concentration is to develop the eye of wisdom.There are three levels covering each Noble Truth. They are as follows:First comes saccanana, insights into what the Four Noble Truths are. Second is Kiccanana, Knowing what is to be done regarding each of the four Noble Truths. Third level is Katanana, which is insight into what has been perfectly done regarding The Four Noble Truths