Thursday, July 2, 2015

Interfaith Days: Asalha Puja

Today is Asalha Puja, a Theravada Buddhist festival, also called Dharma Day. It celebrates the Buddha's first sermon in which he set forth his basic teachings, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The sermon, given to five of his disciples, is thus the basis of all of the Buddha's teaching. This site provides some aspects of the holiday. As this site indicates, "Across Thailand and other communities of Theravada Buddhists, Asalha Puja is an occasion for donations, making offerings to temples and witnessing sermons. The day following Asalha Puja begins, in many Theravada communities, the three-month “rains retreat.” While the rainy season renews life in the natural world, monasteries host monks and nuns indoors—so that the new life may not be disturbed. In centuries past, wandering monks halted their travels during the rainy season."

(From the 2015 Interfaith Calendar of the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis---see for more information---and various online sources.)

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