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Thu 27 Apr 2017
Asarnha Puja Day
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 30 July 2002 00:00

Asarnha Puja Day is the third most important Buddhist holiday. It is the day that the Buddha gave the first sermon to his first five disciples. After Asarnha Puja Day is another important day. Thai people believe that it is the first day of the monsoon season. We know it as "Khao Phansa" or "Buddhist Lent" in English. The word "Phansa" means three months so "Khao Phansa" means to stay indoors for three months. During this three month period, the monks are not allowed to go to stay overnight elsewhere.

At my old school, they celebrate Asarnha Puja every year by taking some students to the temple. I remember when I was in Primary 6, my friends and I were chosen by our teacher to go to the temple. They rented a couple of buses to take us there. We went to the bot or chapel to walk around it three times as soon as we arrived there. One of my friends complained all the time while we were walking. It really annoyed me.

After we had finished walking around the chapel, we went inside to continue the ceremony. We made merit by giving the monks some money, food, toiletries and robes. We also gave them a two metre high candle which is big enough to stay alight for the whole three months of the Buddhist Lent. Then we came to sit down on the floor and listen to the monks chanting. Now the complainer was sleeping but, you know what, his mouth was still open!

We sat there and listened to the monks for nearly half an hour. After that, the head monk gave a short sermon to us and then he stood up and left. We stood up and stretched our legs then lined up to walk back to the bus. While I was walking out from the chapel, I saw my friend, the one who was sleeping, standing on one leg in the sun. Everyone was laughing at him, I was curious about how he was chosen to come. He didn’t have to come if he didn’t want to make some merit, he could have refused.

In the evening, I went to my grandmum’s house with my family to do wien tien with her. This is another way to make merit by walking around the chapel three times. We do it every Buddhist holiday. After we had finished, we went back to my grandmum’s house. Then we sat down and talked. I heard my mum tell my dad that he must keep the five precepts during Khao Phansa. He replied that he will try his best to do it. Then, my mum turned her face to me and said "don’t be too happy, you’ve got to do it too". I replied to her that for sure I can keep the five precepts for longer than two days.

It has always been like this on every Buddhist holiday for as long as I can remember. We always go to visit my grandmum and make merit with her. My mum said that the reason she goes to the temple on Buddhist holidays is because it is a family thing. It is something she has done with her parents. Now, it is a tradition with us.

But, this year I didn’t go. It has been a long while now that I haven’t gone to the temple with my family. Now, I am very busy with working and my social life with my friends so I don’t really have much spare time.

From now on, I will do my best to organise my life so I’ll have some more spare time to spend with my family. Also, in the future when I grow up and have kids, I will spend as much time as I can with them. I will teach my kids about the tradition of going to the temple to make merit. I will do my best to teach them to be good. To be better than me.