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.

Ani Choying Concert in Seattle on June 17, 2017

The uniquely gifted nun singer, Ani Choying Dolma, will be live in Seattle for a Benefit Concert as part of her Peace & Unity US Tour in June 2017. Ani Choying is a Nepalese Buddhist nun and an internationally acclaimed singer of traditional and modernized Buddhist chants, as well as Nepali and Tibetan songs. Internationally […]

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.

Monk Availability

Monk Availability Ajahn Ritthi, Ajahn Prayad, Ajahn Vallop, and Ajahn Somchai are at the Temple. Ajahn Tom is away, returning for the May Retreat, and then taking an 18 month sabbatical. Two Monks from Thailand: Phra Somphan, and Phramaha Chaitatfrom are now resident at the Temple. Ajahn Ritthi’s traveling schedule: May 6-7 at Wat Bakersfield May […]

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 […]

Dhamma Study Class for the Examination

For those who are taking the Examination on April 30, 2017, Ajahn Ritthi is holding a class to answer any questions about the Study Material. The class is held every Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm before the 7:00 pm Meditation. From February 22nd until April 26th. All are welcome, you should have a copy of the study […]

Vipassana Retreats

Vipassana Retreat schedule: May 26th – 28th (Friday/Sunday) led by Ven. Santidhammo June 24th Day of Mindfulness (Saturday) in Thai language. July 28th – 30th (Friday/Sunday) led by Sakula-Mary from Portland August 26th Day of Mindfulness (Saturday) September 22nd – 24th (Friday/Sunday) The Weekend Vipassana Retreat starts on Friday at 7 pm through Sunday at 9 […]

Board of Directors

Officers: Ms. Sangduen Ziemba (President) Mr. Joseph Romero (Vice-President) Miss Pantita Charoenying (Treasurer) Ms Sally Jongjitirat (Secretary) Board Members: Mr. Surachai Arkanit,  Mr. Kane Bunyaketu, Mr. Martin Chin, Ms. Panarat Imig, Dr. Gaviphat Lekutai, Ph.D. Mr. Somsakdi Mahakrittiyadhorn, Mr. Deen Sethanandha, Mr. Punya Tipyasothi, Mr. Chare Vathanaprida, Mrs. Sumalee Washburn, Mrs. Pannee Weiss Board Meetings: The Board of […]

About our Retreats

Attending one of our Vipassana Retreats is a great way to get away from your daily activities, free your mind, and concentrate on your meditation practice.  The Retreats alternate between Weekend and Saturday (Day of Mindfulness).  Even if you select the Weekend Retreat, but cannot attend the full retreat, you are welcome to attend “Saturday only”.   Please […]