Believers on May 24 were already congregating at the Dharma Practice Center’s Chaimongkol Temple branch, making merit by offering essential goods to monks, praying and listening to lectures. Many were older worshippers bringing children or grandchildren and families to listen to sermons for a peaceful mind and sharper intellect.
Buddhists making merit, making religious offerings to the temple before Visakha Bucha Day arrives.
Siriporn Siensiribundith, 23, said there was no need to wait for Visakha Bucha Day, which this year lands on June 4. Merit can be made any day, she said, and she invited other Buddhists to come to the temple to meditate, relief stress and do good for others.
Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s Birthday,” Visakha Bucha actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvana), and death of Gautama Buddha.
On the day, devout Buddhists and followers alike are expected and requested to assemble at temples before dawn for the ceremonial hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gems. Devotees may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their teacher. They also are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind and encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day.