BANGKOK, 11 July 2014 – As today is Asalaha Bucha Day, a sacred Buddhist holy day that commemorates the Lord Buddha’s first Dharma discourse to the first Buddhist monk, and tomorrow marks the start of Buddhist Lent. It is the first day of the three month retreat during the rainy season, and it is the custom in Thailand to offer flowers to monks on this occasion. Any type of flower can be offered and it is believed that anyone able to offer flowers to monks at the start of Buddhist Lent will be the recipient of much merit and blessings.
The ‘Tak Bat Dok Mai’ is a Buddhist ceremony in which local people offer flowers to monks as a way of making merit. In addition to the offerings of cooked rice, food, incense, candles and sacred items, the Tak Bat Dok Mai ritual includes offerings of Dok Khao Phansa flowers that only come into bloom during the Buddhist Lent.
People can go to offer flowers to monks at many temples nationwide but the most popular are in Saraburi Province. The auspicious ceremony began yesterday on Sai Khu Road in front Wat Phra Phutthabat in Saraburi Province where tens of thousands of Buddhists participated in offering flowers to 3,000 monks. Residents of Bangkok can experience the joy of such festivals at Rama IX Golden Jubilee Temple and Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Temple.
The merit that results from offering flowers to monks is believed to be manifold:
1. One will be healthy, living a long life without disease
2. One will be filled with wealth
3. One will be beautiful and wise
4. One will be Happy
5. To be forever be brought up as a Buddhist
6. Will be readily enlightened by Buddhist wisdom in all
People making merit during the Buddhist Lent Day are advised to:
1. Wear white
2. Prepare Dry Food
3. Pack rice neatly
4. Avoid offering water in bottles
5. Avoid offering money (due to the monk’s 227 precepts), but instead separately donate at the donation box.
6. Claim your mind and soul
7. Give offerings to monks with the highest respect