Asalha Puja. Buddhist Lent Day

Asalha Puja (known as Asanha Puja or Asarnha Bucha in ThailandThai: 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.

Asalha Puja

The day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons. The following day is known in Thailand as Wan Kao Pansa; it is the first day of vassa, the Theravada rains retreat.

Vassa (from Pāli vassoSanskrit varṣaḥ, both “rain” – Burmese: ဝါဆို wasoKhmer: វស្សា or ព្រះវស្សា; Lao: ພັນສາ pʰán săː, sometimes ວັດສາ wāt săːThai: 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 [1]). 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.

Vassa is followed by two of the major festivals of the year among Theravada Buddhists, Wan Awk Pansa and Kathina.

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.

September Retreat is Open for Registration

The Weekend Vipassana Retreat starts on Friday at 7 pm through Sunday at 9 am. September 22 to 24 Retreat is open for registration, to register please follow this link: Retreat Registration To learn more about what to expect on our Retreats, please read the following Guide: ABM Retreat Guide

Vipassana Retreats

Vipassana Retreat schedule: September 22nd – 24th (Friday/Sunday) led by Ajahn Ritthi The Weekend Vipassana Retreat starts on Friday at 7 pm through Sunday at 9 am.  The Day of Mindfulness starts on Saturday at 9 am to 9 pm. Registration for each Retreat is available the 1st of the month for the Retreat.  To register for this months Retreat […]

Sunday August 27th at 1pm-3pm, floral training session at Wat Atam

You will be shown how to make floral arrangements which will be used in Memory of King Rama IX.  You will then show others, during Thai Festival on September 9th, how to make the arrangements and everyone participating will make as many floral arrangements as possible.  The floral arrangements will be used for the ceremony on October 21st.   […]

Weekly Meditation

On Wednesday at 7.00pm we chant in Pali and English, followed by a 45 minute meditation, a tea break, and a Dhamma Talk in English.  The Wednesday Sangha is primarily focused on meditation and learning Buddhist fundamentals.  Beginners and those who have practiced before are welcome.  If you have any questions about Wednesday Evening Meditation, please email them […]

Dhamma Study Class on Thursdays

The class will be held in the Activity Room. The class meets every other Thursday (schedule follows) at 7 pm in the Activity Room (just behind the kitchen).  We start with a 30 minute meditation, followed by a discussion on the subject material. We’re reading “The Island” An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana, the book […]

Monk Availability

Monk Availability Ajahn Ritthi, Ajahn Prayad, and Ajahn Somchai are at the Temple. Ajahn Tom has disrobed and will not return. Ajahn Vallop is in Thailand returning January 2018. Two Monks from Thailand: Phra Somphan, and Phramaha Chaitatfrom are now resident at the Temple.

Daily Chanting and Meditation

The Monks gather together every evening at 7pm, except weekends, to chant and meditate (evening prayers).  All are welcome. On Wednesday evenings the chanting is in Pali and English, followed with 45 minutes of meditation, a break for tea, and then a Dhamma talk in English. All are welcome, even without prior meditation instructions or practice.