Pattaya greets late-arriving Makha Bucha Day with early enthusiasm

0
448

Young Thai dancers perform in front of the Khao Chi Chan Engraved Buddha Image during the annual Makha Bucha Day carving ceremony to preserve the image.  People throughout the Kingdom flocked to local temples to commemorate the occasion when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.

Makha Bucha Day may have come later this year, but eastern Buddhists still got their early start on a long day of ceremony and reverence.

Celebrated in February four of the past five years, the Buddhist “All Saints Day” commemorates the occasion when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.

Young Thai dancers perform in front of the Khao Chi Chan Engraved Buddha Image during the annual Makha Bucha Day carving ceremony to preserve the image.  People throughout the Kingdom flocked to local temples to commemorate the occasion when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.  Young Thai dancers perform in front of the Khao Chi Chan Engraved Buddha Image during the annual Makha Bucha Day carving ceremony to preserve the image.  People throughout the Kingdom flocked to local temples to commemorate the occasion when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India.

Similarly, Pattaya Buddhists flocked without announcement to Boonsampan, Khao Makok, Sutthipawan, Suthawas and other temples to pray, hear sermons, lay gold leaf on Buddha statues and participate in the evening “wien thien” procession.

Boonsampan Abbot Wisut Piyakorn and Wijarn Thammakit, his counterpart at Khao Makok, did as all clergy do the day, preparing flowers, incense sticks and candles for worshiping of Lord Buddha.

Besides giving money and alms, devotees were sprinkled with holy water to ward off bad luck and made merit by freeing birds or fish.

At the Suthawas Temple, Abbot Wisit Thammasarn, the Banglamung district ecclesiastical chief, hosted the temple’s annual fair, placing gold leaf on the Luang Por To statue. The fair continued through March 7.

People place gold leaf on the reclining Buddha image at Suthawas temple in Nongprue.People place gold leaf on the reclining Buddha image at Suthawas temple in Nongprue.

Organizers set up a “pha pah loi fah” area at the fair, where strings hung down from a rope. Donations can be made by stapling money to the strings. There was also a robe ceremony, the buying of roof tiles for the crematorium, likay traditional Thai dramas and outdoor movie screenings.

At the Sutthipawan forest temple, there were also many activities, such as placing gold leaf on spheres and Buddha statues.

In the evening, the procession three times around the Rahu chapel at Samae San Temple was one of many in the area. Here, Prasert Phitakgorn, the sub-district’s mayor, joined more than 1,000 Sattahip residents to walk with candles in the procession.

Phra Kru Wijarn Thammakit, aka Luang Pu Maha Sombat (far left) and monks at Khao Makok temple perform a prayer service on Makha Bucha Day.Phra Kru Wijarn Thammakit, aka Luang Pu Maha Sombat (far left) and monks at Khao Makok temple perform a prayer service on Makha Bucha Day.

At Buddha Mountain, Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai presided over the annual carving ceremony with Chai Klang Apinyano from the Rama 9 Kanchanaphisek Temple and military officials.

Vice Adm. Pongsak Pureerote said that the Khao Chi Chan Engraved Buddha Image Area Conservation and Development Club organize the ceremony each year to preserve the giant carving of the Lord Buddha on the side of the cliff.

Makha Bucha 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.

Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai presides over the merit making ceremony at Buddha Mountain.Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai presides over the merit making ceremony at Buddha Mountain.

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.

Boonsampan Temple began filling up with people making merit at 8 a.m.Boonsampan Temple began filling up with people making merit at 8 a.m.

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 Gems” (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.

Monks lead the Wien Thien procession around Chong Samae San temple in Sattahip.Monks lead the Wien Thien procession around Chong Samae San temple in Sattahip.

Making merit at Chong Samae San temple in Sattahip.Making merit at Chong Samae San temple in Sattahip.

People are able to buy lottery tickets at their temples after they make merit.People are able to buy lottery tickets at their temples after they make merit.

Making a wish before freeing the birds.Making a wish before freeing the birds.

By releasing birds at the temple, believers hope the birds will fly away with their bad luck.By releasing birds at the temple, believers hope the birds will fly away with their bad luck.