Whether at temples or behind bars, Buddhists throughout the Eastern Seaboard celebrated Makha Bucha Day with prayers, alms giving and meditation.
Buddhist “All Saints Day” commemorates when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.
Senior monks lead the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Dhamsamakhee during Makha Bucha (Buddhist All Saints) Day, March 7. Thousands upon thousands of faithful visited their local temples to make merit, offer tak bat and perform the Wien Thien ceremony.
In Pattaya, thousands of devout Buddhists turned out at local temples to conduct ceremonies that have been performed throughout Buddhist history, and make merit for themselves and their families.
The morning ceremonies were filled with people presenting offerings to the monks, performing “tak baht” and listening to monks preach the Dharma, or teachings, of the Buddha.
Lighting candles and making an offering to Buddha at Wat Nong - Or, Central Pattaya early morning on Makha Bucha Day.
Ceremonies were continued in the evening, with many people performing the “Wien Thien” whereby believers light candles and circle the temple’s prayer room three times, paying homage to the “Triple Gem” or the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
Worshipping or “Bucha” occurs on the 15th day of the waning moon of the third lunar month, or “Makha.” This year the event fell on March 7.
In Sattahip, thousands of faithful congregated at Sattahip Temple’s Prien Pavillion to offer meat, rice desserts, candles, flowers and incense to monks.
In the evening, Adm. Somchai Na Bangchang, deputy commander of the Air and Coastal Defense Command, welcomed Provost Santiburopthit of Chakmaak Temple in Rayong to give the sermon and chant the Chaiyamongkol Khatha Pathokdham. About 300 military and government officials attending meditated for peace and to reminisce Lord Buddha.
Meditation was also practiced by about 90 inmates at Sattahip Prison, where warden Rear Adm. Suthichok Thaweewong had been ordered to have inmates give alms, observe religious precepts for eight days and listen to sermons from nine monks from Sattahip Temple. The hope was the prisoners would be enlightened to respect public consciousness and admit their sins.
The day gained official recognition in Thailand during the reign of King Rama IV and became a nationally observed day with all government institutions closing down and observing the rituals associated with Buddhist commandments.
Disseminating the Buddha’s teachings and the journey to meet with the Buddha on the 15th night of the third lunar month are part of the historical events that include the sermons and truths spoken by the Buddha.
Having good intentions, not harming others, avoiding evil actions and making the heart and mind pure in thought were among the truths spoken by the Buddha. Additionally, other truths spoken by the Buddha cautioned individual restraint in all that attracts one’s attention, to include desiring possessions belonging to others, and exploiting others for personal gain.
Before departing, the Buddha also referred to the people’s interest in making merit, gaining self-esteem and a comfortable reassurance that moral integrity exists. More importantly, having faith in the “Triple Gem” (Phraratanatrai) was illustrated by emphasizing the importance of avoiding drunken, irresponsible and immoral behavior, and maintaining focus on supporting loved ones while being content in one’s existence with friends and without selfish greed.
Faithful Buddhists pray and listen to monks chant on Buddhist All Saints Day at Wat Nong Prue.
Young monks at Wat Dhamsamakhee, South Pattaya prepare to perform their solemn ceremony.
People pay homage to the most revered monks at Wat Nong - Or, Central Pattaya.
People mingle on Walking Street, although all bars are closed due to national laws regarding religious holidays.
Buddhists light candle and joss sticks at Wat Satawat.
Hundreds of faithful gather at Wat Dhamsamakhee, South Pattaya at the beginning of the day.
Adorning a Buddha statue with flakes of gold to make merit at Wat Satawat.
Early Makha Bucha morning, people pray to Buddha at Wat Dhamsamakhee, South Pattaya.
Thousands of Sattahip Buddhists congregate in Prien Pavilion at Wat Sattahip on this most auspicious day.
Buddhists young and old, with the younger people assisting the older people, solemnly perform the Wien Thien ceremony at Wat Nong Prue.
Faithful Buddhist make merit at Wat Satawat
With intense concentration, this gentleman prepares a candle to offer his temple.
Adm. Somchai Na Bangchang, deputy commander of ACDC, leads more than 300 soldiers to perform Buddhist religious rites.
A young vendor prepares to sell her garlands so that people can make merit on Makha Bucha Day.
Revered monks lead the Wien Thien procession at Wat Nong Prue.
Buddhist lay offerings at a sacred tree to make merit at Wat Nong Prue.
Women prepare tak bat to be given monk at Wat Dhamsamakhee, South Pattaya.
Prisoners at Sattahip Prison offer alms to monks and observe the 8 day religious precepts.
Buddhists quietly walk three times around the temple prayer house, performing the Wien Thien ceremony in the evening at Wat Nong Prue.