Asalha Puja (known as Asanha Puja or Asarnha Bucha in Thailand, Thai: อาสาฬหบูชา aa-saal boo-chaa) is a Theravada Buddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the full moon of the eighth lunar month. It commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist sangha. In Thailand, Asalha Puja is a government holiday.
Vassa (from Pāli vasso, Sanskrit varṣaḥ, both “rain” – Burmese: ဝါဆို waso, Khmer: វស្សា or ព្រះវស្សា; Lao: ພັນສາ pʰán săː, sometimes ວັດສາ wāt săː; Thai: พรรษา,pansa or phansaa; ), also called Rains Retreat, is the traditional retreat during the rainy season lasting for three lunar months from July to October. During this time Buddhist monksremain in a single place, generally in their temples. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the Vassa to intensive meditation. During Vassa, many Buddhist lay people reinvigorate their spiritual training and adopt more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking (Vassa is sometimes known as “Buddhist Lent“, though at least one prominent Theravada monk has objected to this usage- see ). And in countries such as Thailand, the laity will often take monastic vows for period of Vassa and return to lay life afterwards. Commonly, the number of years a monk has spent in monastic life is expressed by counting the number of Vassas he has observed.
The Vassa retreat has largely been given up by Mahayana Buddhists, as Mahayana Buddhism has typically flourished in regions without a rainy season, however for Mahayana schools such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism other forms of retreat are common.
The observation of Vassa is said to originate with the Buddha himself. Gautama Buddha ordered his disciples to observe a pre-existing practice whereby holy men avoided travel for a three month period during the rainy season, in order to avoid damaging crops.
Vassa begins on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month; the preceding day is Asalha Puja. The focus of celebration by the laity is the first day of Vassa (or Wan Kao Pansa – Lao: ວັນເຂົ້າພັນສາ wán pʰán săː) during which worshippers donate candles and other necessities to temples, in a ceremony which has reached its most extravagant form in the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival.
The end of vassa is marked by joyous celebration. The following month, the Kathina ceremony is held, during which the laity gathers to make formal offerings of robe cloth and other requisites to the Sangha.
By Thanawaro Bhikkhu This occasion, I would like to describe by separating into levels: the conventional truth level and the ultimate truth level Conventional truth level refers to being aware of one’s position in accordance with worldly conventions such as being a male, a female, a mother, a father or a child, a teacher, a […]
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July 28th to July 30th August 25th to August 27th September 29th to October 1st October 16th to October 22nd; Meditation Retreat as part of the Vegetarian Festival Please read about our Retreat Schedules. The Weekend Retreat starts on Friday at 7 pm through Saturday at 9 pm. The Day of Mindfulness starts on Saturday […]
The Burden of Life (translation to English) The Heart of Buddhism – Anatta Anapanasati – Its Benefits Paiccasamuppda is the Genuine Buddha
This Retreat is being led by Ajahn Ritthi (Abbot of Wat Atamm). The Retreat starts on Friday at 7 pm following the Wednesday Evening Meditation schedule, however you are welcome to continue meditating until you’re ready to retire to your accommodations or return home for the evening. Saturday retreat starts with a 5:00 am wake […]
AN ALL-DAY OFFERING WITH JOSEPH KAPPEL In the course of most days, we wake up and go through our daily routines of life. Many of us follow patterns that are deeply ingrained in each thing we do and follow this pattern habitually. Pause for a moment and reflect on these questions, ‘when I wake up, […]
The discussion group is held on Tuesday at 7 pm in the Activity Room. There is no registration required, and attendance every week is not required. Each week we will begin with 30+ minutes of meditation, followed by a discussion of the assigned reading. The group style is informal and conversational; if obligations require you […]
Monk Availability If you need to talk to a Monk please call Ajahn Ritthi @ (425) 773-1789 Ajahn Ritthi, Ajahn Prayad are at the Temple.