Magha Puja

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Māgha Pūjā Day
Walk with lighted candles in hand around a temple.jpg
Also called Makha Bucha Day
Tabaung Full Moon Day
Observed by Theravada Buddhists
Type Buddhist
Date Full moon day of the 3rd lunar month
2013 date 25 February
2014 date 14 February

Māgha Pūjā, Makha Bucha, or the Full Moon of Tabottwal (Burmese: တပုိ ့တြဲလျပည့္ေန ့; Khmer: មាឃបូជា, Meak Bochea; Lao: ມະຄະບູຊາ; Thai: มาฆบูชา) is an important Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon day of Māgha in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, and on the full moon day of Phālguna in Myanmar. The spiritual aims of the day are: not to commit any kind of sins; do only good; purify one's mind. Māgha Pūjā is a public holiday in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand - and is an occasion when Buddhists tend to go to the temple to perform merit-making activities.

It was nine full months after Buddha got Enlightenment, on the full-moon day of 6th lunar month, 45 year before the Buddhist era.

Etymology[edit]

The third lunar month is known in the Thai language as Makha (Pali: Māgha); Bucha is also a Thai word (Pali: Pūjā), meaning "to venerate" or "to honor". As such, Makha Bucha Day is for the veneration of Buddha and his teachings on the full moon day of the third lunar month.

Origin[edit]

Māgha Pūjā day marks the four auspicious occasions, which happened nine months after the Enlightenment of the Buddha at Veḷuvana Bamboo Grove, near Rājagaha in Northern India. On that occasion, as recorded in the commentary to the Mahāsamayasutta, DN-Comm 20) four marvellous events occurred:

  1. 1,250 disciples came to see the Buddha that evening without being summoned.
  2. All of them were Arhantas, Enlightened Ones, and all were ordained by the Buddha himself.
  3. The Buddha gave those Arhantas the principles of Buddhism, called "The ovadhapatimokha". Those principles are: - To cease from all evil,- To do what is good,- To cleanse one's mind;
  4. It was the full-moon day.

The Buddha gave an important teaching to the assembled monks on that day 2,500 years ago called the 'Ovādapātimokha'[1] which laid down the principles of the Buddhist teachings. In Thailand, this teaching has been dubbed the 'Heart of Buddhism'.

Observances[edit]

Burma (Myanmar)[edit]

In Burma, Magha Puja, called the Full Moon of Tabaung' or Tabottwal Full Moon Day (တပုိ ့တြဲလျပည့္ေန ့), is a traditional merit-making day for Buddhists.[2] Tabottwal is the month before last month of the year in the traditional Burmese calendar. The country's largest pagoda festival, the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival, begins during the new moon of the month of Tabottwal in the traditional Burmese calendar and continues until the full moon.[3] The festival begins with a nakyake shitsu ceremony for offerings to the 28 Buddhas (from Taningara to Gautama), followed by a 10-day, nonstop recital of the Pathana, Buddhist scriptures on the 24 causes of worldly phenomena.[4]

Other pagoda festivals are held on this day, including the Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival in Magwe Region's Minbu Township and the Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda Festival, near the Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park in Sagaing Region.[5][6] The Full Moon of Tabaung also coincides with the Pa-O National Day, traditionally set on the day of King Suriyachanda’s birth.[7]

Thailand[edit]

  1. In the evening of Magha full-moon day, each temple in Thailand holds a candlelight procession called a wian thian (wian meaning to circle around; thian meaning candle). Holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle, the monks and congregation members circumambulate clockwise three times around the phra ubosot (ordination hall) - once for each of the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
  2. tham bun: Making merit by going to temples for special observances and join in the other Buddhist activities.
  3. rap sin': Keeping the Five Precepts. Practise of renunciation: Observe the Eight Precepts, practise of meditation and mental discipline, stay in the temple, wearing white robes, for a number of days.

References[edit]

  1. ^ D.ii.49, Dh.183
  2. ^ "Meritorious deeds performed at religious edifices throughout nation on Fullmoon Day of Tabottwal". New Light of Myanmar. 19 March. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Banned festival resumed at Shwedagon Pagoda". Mizzima News. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Thein, Cherry (10 March 2008). "Shwedagon Tabaung festival". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Moh Moh Thaw (28 March 2011). "Pilgrims flock to Shwesettaw for Tabaung". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Thein, Cherry (2 January 2012). "Trustees ready remote Alaungdaw Kathapa for festival season". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Nandar Chann (May 2004). "Pa-O: The Forgotten People". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 

External links[edit]