Buddhists nationwide making merit on Asarnha Bucha Day

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BANGKOK, July 15 – Buddhists throughout Thailand on Friday made merit during the morning alms rounds of Buddhist monks and the faithful will attend candle-lit processions at nearby temples in the evening to mark Asarnha Bucha.

In the Thai capital of Bangkok, people flocked to temples to give food and necessities to monks, aiming to express their religious dedication and gratitude to His Majesty the King on an auspicious occasion of the king’s 84th birthday.

In the meantime, they also wished for national peace and unity among the Thai people.

In the northern province of Chiang Mai, a huge number of residents thronged to temples to make merit and offer necessities to monks. They intend that the religious offerings on Asana Bucha Day will bring their families and themselves good luck and will express gratitude to their family members who passed away.

Also, Buddhists in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat gave alms and food to monk on Asarnha Bucha amid tight security.

Samart Waradisai, Narathiwat’s deputy governor, Friday morning led residents to around 1,000 people including civil servants, military personnel, police officers and local Buddhist residents in giving food and alms to monks at a park in Narathiwat municipality.

The merit made on this religious occasion was for those who were killed in the regional insurgency.

In Yala, Fourth Region Army commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Thammasarorat presided over a merit-making ceremony on the occasion of Asana Bucha Day, joined by Governor Krissada Boonraj, other government officials and residents amid tight security.

Asarnha Bucha Day is the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, coinciding to July 15 this year. It commemorates the day on which the Lord Buddha preached his first sermon called “the Dhammachakapavattana Sutta” to his first five chief disciples more than 2,500 years ago.

The Buddha’s first sermon contained four great truths which lead to Nirvana and are the foundational doctrines of Buddhism.

Meanwhile, the public health ministry has banned selling alcohol on Buddhist holy days, July 14-16. Violators face six-month jail terms and a Bt10,000 fine.

Asarnha Bucha Day falls on July 15 and the Buddhist Lent falls on July 16.

The Prime Minister’s Office in 2009 announced the ban of selling alcohol on four Buddhist holy days including Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asarnha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent.

Drinking alcohol is not only against the Buddhist morality, but it is often implicated in road accidents and crimes.