Magha Puja

     Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holy day, regarded a public holiday in Thailand, which Buddhists can perform merit-makings during the day. Magha Puja is held on a full moon day in the third month, February.

     Magha Puja day marks the four auspicious occasions, which are;

    1. It was a day which 1250 Arahantas(the holy one,the worthy one,the accomplished one) from different places spontaneously congregate at Veruvana Temple, Rajgarh city.
    2. All of Arahantas were individually ordained by the lord Buddha himself.
    3. Each Arahantas came on his own initiative and without notification.
    4. It was a perfect full-moon day.

     These great four events took place on Magha Puja day,and these were called 'Jaturongkasannibath' . The lord Buddha then delivered a discourse and gave his sermon known as 'Ovadha Patimokha' to those Arahantas.

The main theme are;
  • Not to commit any kind of sinsShall do only good
  • Shall purify one's mind

     At the presence of the great four events, the Lord Buddha gave his sermon 'Ovadha Patimokha' among his 1250 adherents, in the afternoon of Magha Puja day, at the grand temple Veruvana in the city of Rajgarh. It is regarded as the foundation of Buddhist, which has propagated to other countries including Thailand where Buddhist has been in such a great prosperity until present.

     On Magha Puja day, Thai people recognize this opportunity to perform merit-makings. In the morning, they prepare and offer food to monks. Elderly people take this opportunity to practice Dhama, paying, concentration and purifying minds. Some of them even stay at the temple overnight.

     In the evening, every temple is readily prepared for candle procession to take place. Just after 6.00 p.m., monks and novices come to the major temple building, so called 'Bod'. Chief monk lead the pray and, indeed, Ovadha Patimokha is unavoidable. People readily assemble and prepare flowers, joss sticks and candles. They wait until the pray is completed. Monks then lead people to perform a tripple candlelit circumambulating around the Bod. This is an important Buddhist activity to remind the Lord Buddha's kindness that has taught everyone to avoid committing sins, to do only good and always purify one's mind.

     Magha Puja is an important day for all Thai. It is the day that Buddhist are to make merits, to perform candle processions to maintain religious commandment to practice Dhama and to worship the Lord Buddha. These are main Buddhist doctrines.

Translator : Aketawan Manowongsa
4 June 2000