BANGKOK, July 11 — Thai Buddhists nationwide are making merit today, Asalha Puja Day, Friday, the full moon of the eighth lunar month, to celebrate the Lord Buddha’s first sermon to his five former companions the doctrine that had come to him following his enlightenment.
Devout Buddhists dressed in white were seen at Ban Tor Pa Tun in the northern province of Chiang Mai offering alms contained in three glass bowls, meaning Lord Buddha, his teaching and the monkhood.
They also worshiped sacred objects and their deceased ancestors.
In nearby Lamphun province, people offered alms to monks at the revered Wat Phra That Haripunchai which is more than 1,350 years old in the belief that their presence would make them and family members receive fortune and happiness.
In the northeastern province of Surin bordering Cambodia where many elephants are raised, alms offering to monks was probably different to other provinces in Thailand as Buddhists presented alms on 87 elephants.
The celebrations were held around the statue of Phraya Surin Phakdi Srinarong Chang Wang.
It is also considered the most important temple for people in Surin because it houses Luang Pho Phra Chi, a highly venerated Buddha image.
Buddhists lined up along the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom province bordering Laos and offered sticky rice to monks while the provincial governor led people in giving an oath not to consume alcoholic drinks during the three-month Buddhist Lent period which begins tomorrow. They also aimed at performing good deeds for His Majesty the King.
Buddhists in the two troubled southern provinces of Yala and Narathiwat offered dried food and sweets to monks amid tight security provided by the authorities.
At the revered Wat Mahathat in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district, Buddhists offered alms to 87 monks.
His Majesty the King celebrates his 87th birthday this year, December 5.