Rungroj Yongrit / EPA
Thousands of Thai Buddhist monks chant during a lantern lighting to celebrate Makha Bucha day at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2013.
It commemorates two separate events that occurred on the same date 45 years apart, during the Buddha’s lifetime 2,500 years ago. The first event was the coming together of 1,250 monks from all locations and directions, to meet and be ordained by the Buddha. This event occurred seven months after the Buddha began his teaching. The second event, which occurred 45 years later, was the Buddha delivering his teachings shortly before his death. Both of these events occurred on the day of the full moon of the third lunar month, a month known in the Buddhist Pali language as ‘Makha’. The ‘Bucha’, also a Pali word, means to venerate or to honor. Thus, Makha Bucha Day is for the veneration of Buddha and his teachings on the full moon day of the third lunar month.
Makha Bucha Day represents a great deal in terms of the development of Buddhism in Thailand. It is a highly ceremonial event and in Thailand it’s an event that was only recently revived as part of Thai Buddhist tradition. The Supreme Patriarch of the Marble Temple in Bangkok, Kittsobhana Mahathera, did this in 1957. Before 1957, the full moon day of the third lunar month was celebrated as a Buddhist Holy Day. Because of local ceremonies that occupied this day in different parts of the country, the Makha Bucha ceremonies today take on the different flavors of the various locales.
At this time in the evolution of Buddhism and Buddhist principles in Thailand, it is important to understand how the majority of Thai people view Buddha and the Buddhist philosophy.
- Chiang Mai Celebrates Makha Bucha (ireport.cnn.com)
- Eye-catching sight as thousands of monks gather in Thailand (photoblog.nbcnews.com)
- Festival: Makha Bucha Day (ttrweekly.com)
- Pictures in the News | February 25, 2013 (framework.latimes.com)
- 4 dead in Thai Buddhist festival blast – police (newsinfo.inquirer.net)