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.
Attending one of our Meditation 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”. […]
The Annual Picnic is this Sunday August 12th and we are short Van drivers for a two hour period when the crowd arrives. We need you to be at the Temple at 9:30 am. You will drive to and from Leota High School. Don’t worry food will be saved for you, and you will get […]
An embedded player for listening to the Wednesday Evening Chanting: Following is a link to downloading the Chanting audio file
HAPPINESS WITHOUT A FOUNDATION OF DHAMMA IS JUST SUFFERING BIDING ITS TIME. CALM THE MIND; YOU WILL DISCOVER A COOL, REFRESHING JOY. To read “The Prison of Life” from the web click on: The Prison of Life Check the Wat Atam library of a copy of the book.
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 Dhamma talk in English. You are welcome to stay for tea and conversation before returning home. All are welcome, even without […]
Four Foundations of Mindfulness Class (Intense Insight Meditation – ‘I.I.M.’) This class is a wonderful opportunity to significantly deepen one’s understanding and practice of the Dhamma. You will learn, experience, and directly live the teachings in one of the most important groups of subjects in Buddhism. The Instructor for this class is George Kitsondhi, Thai […]
The Dhamma Studies Elementary to Advanced levels have started (year 1-3). If you have not signed up for the test, please contact Ajahn Ritthi (email@example.com). Ajahn Ritthi has a class every Wednesday at 6 pm (starting 1/10) to go over the study material and answer any questions you may have about your level of Dhamma […]
The following talk by Jack Kornfield is about Walking Meditation. It can be downloaded Walking 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 […]