Eastern Buddhists mark 2,600th enlightenment anniversary on Visakha Bucha Day

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Pattaya-area Buddhists flocked to area temples for Visakha Bucha Day which, this year, carried special significance as it marked the 2,600th anniversary of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment.

Commemorations began early, with residents and tourists descending on Pattaya’s Wat Chaimongkol and Thamsamakkee temples to give alms and mark the Buddhist Jayanti.

Buddhists gather at Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya to present Sangkhathan (necessary items for monks) and make merit on Visakha Bucha Day.Buddhists gather at Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya to present Sangkhathan (necessary items for monks) and make merit on Visakha Bucha Day.

At Nong Or Temple, senior citizens dressed in white brought children and grandchildren to present basic necessities to monks while praying and asking for blessings. Ladies groups meditated and listened to sermons at the temple, which was more crowded than in most years.

At Wat Nong Or, Central Pattaya, apart from performing the Wien Thien ceremony, citizens could paste gold papers on Lord Buddha’s statue.At Wat Nong Or, Central Pattaya, apart from performing the Wien Thien ceremony, citizens could paste gold papers on Lord Buddha’s statue.

Marking the triple occasion of the birth of Buddha, the day of his enlightenment and his ascension to Nirvana, Visakha Bucha Day is one of the three holiest days on the Buddhist calendar and this year was designated by USESCO as “World Peace Day.” The educational, scientific and cultural organization’s proclamation cited Buddhism’s teaching of humanity, mercy and tolerance as the reasons for the designation.

In the evening at temples such as Photisampan in Naklua, and Chaimongkol in South Pattaya, residents joined monks in the “Wien Thien” ceremony, walking three times around the temple with lit candles and joss sticks, and gilded Buddhist statues with gold.

A Buddhist monk sprinkles holy water on the faithful at Wat Khao Phra Yai.A Buddhist monk sprinkles holy water on the faithful at Wat Khao Phra Yai.

Foreigners with Thai wives perform the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Nong Or, Central Pattaya.Foreigners with Thai wives perform the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Nong Or, Central Pattaya.

After walking three times around the temple for the Wien Thien ceremony, Buddhists plant their incense at the base of Lord Buddha’s statue and ask for blessings at Wat Nong Or.After walking three times around the temple for the Wien Thien ceremony, Buddhists plant their incense at the base of Lord Buddha’s statue and ask for blessings at Wat Nong Or.

Buddhists prepare offerings to be used in the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Khao Phra Yai.Buddhists prepare offerings to be used in the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Khao Phra Yai.

Before the Wien Thien ceremony, monks preach the dharma to thousands of Buddhists in Pattaya City.Before the Wien Thien ceremony, monks preach the dharma to thousands of Buddhists in Pattaya City.

Monks lead citizens through the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Photisampan in Naklua.Monks lead citizens through the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Photisampan in Naklua.