Magha Puja | Makha Bucha

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Magha Puja falls on Saturday, 24 February 2024 (24 กุมภาพันธ์ 2567)

The Magha Puja Day, also known as วันมาฆบูชา (Wan Makha Bucha) is the annual celebration of the Buddhists held on the Full Moon Day of the third lunar month (February) in the Buddhist countries. In Thailand, the ceremony of Magha Puja is performed to emphasize the significance of the Magha month. It was the period in which the Buddha constituted the Main Code of his instructions and which is universally regarded as the heart of Buddhist Teachings.

The historical events preceding this period must be reviewed briefly. The Buddha delivered his First Discourse to the Five Ascetics, namely Anna Kondanna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and Assaji, who when they heard the Englightened One were ordained and become the Five Noble Disciples. The Buddha then made a retreat at Isapatana in the Deer Park near Benares. There he ordained Yasa, the son of an influential family, who had approached the Buddha and had received instructions on the discourse concerning the Fivefold Principles, namely generosity, morality, happy life, renunciation and the benefit of ordination. He took as his refuge the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Thus he entered into the monastic life. The Order now, increased to sixty in number. The Buddha urged the monks to journey in different directions and places, to disseminate the Law of the Truth. Hence the first Buddhist mission began. The teaching of the Awakened One has since spread to many people in many lands.

The Buddha himself went to preach at Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha State. There, three ascetics regarded as great teachers become Buddhist monks together with their disciples, the reported number being one thousand.

Bimbisara, the King of that State, become a Buddhist, taking the Triple Gem as his spiritual guide and supporting the Buddha’s mission. The King gave as a residence for the Buddha and his Order a quiet and suitable place called Veluvana Vihara (Bamboo Grove). This was the first Buddhist temple. Here many thousands of the citizens become Buddhists. During the period when the Buddha was staying in Veluvana Vihara, a certain incident took place in the Full Moon Day of the third lunar month. The Bhikkhus, about 1,250 in number who had been ordained by the Buddha himself and since then engaged in missionary activities, returned without prior notice to the Great Teacher to question him further about his teachings. Thus took place the Great Assembly of all the Holy Ones at Veluvana Vihara where Buddha delivered the discourse on the Main Code of his teaching which can be summarised thus (in Ovadapatimokkha Gatha):

“Patience, that is to say Forbearance, is considered the Supreme Endeavour. All the Buddha’s speak of Nibbana as the Highest Goal; a Bhikkhu who still does harm and violence to others is not a recluse atall. Do no evil , do whatever is good, purify the mind. This is the Teaching of the Buddhas. Non- abuse, harmlessless, restraint through the Disciplinary Code. This is the Teachings of all the Buddhas.”

Source of information on Magha Puja: From Puja Book by Bhikkhu Cattamalo

Ovadapatimokkha Gatha Chant (short version):

Three Exhortations of the Buddha

Handa mayaṁ ovādapātimokkha gāthāyo bhaṇāma se :
Now let us recite the verses on three exhortations of the Buddha

(ALL, 全体)

Sabba pāpassa akaranaṁ, kusalass’ ūpasampadā;
Sacitta pariyodapanaṁ, etaṁ buddhāna sāsanaṁ.
Abstaining from all evil; doing what is good; cleansing of one’s mind,
this is the teaching of all Buddhas.
一切恶莫作,一切善奉行; 自调净其意,是诸佛所教。

Khanti paramaṁ tapo tītikkhā; nibbānaṁ paramaṁ vadanti buddhā.
Patience is the highest practice; Nibbana is supreme, say the Buddhas;
忍辱为最高的苦行; 所有觉者都说涅盘为最高无上的。

Na hi pabbajjito parupaghāṭi; samaṇo hoti paraṁ viheṭhayanto.
A mendicant does not harm others; a recluse oppresses no one.
杀害他者不名为出家人; 恼害他者不名为沙门。

Anūpavādo anūpaghāto pāṭimokkhe ca saṁvaro.
Not insulting, not harming, restrained according to the moral code,
不诽谤与不侵害; 严持戒律。

Mattaññutā ca bhattasmiṁ; pantañ ca sayanāsanaṁ;
Adhicitte ca āyogo; etaṁ buddhāna sāsanan’ti
Moderation in taking food, dwelling in solitude, engaging in higher mental
development, this is the teaching of the Buddhas
于食知量; 深居简处于幽僻之地; 精勤于修习增上定; 此为诸佛所教导。

Note: Chanting above is compiled by KH Tan from Penang, Malaysia

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