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Asalha Puja 2024: Happy Dharma Day- Date, Meaning, Activities & Celebrations

Asalha Puja, known as Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day, pays tribute to Buddha by celebrating his birth in October and his first sermon. The day also marks the start of the annual worship of the Three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, collectively called the Buddha Shastras. The word Asalha means “asphalt,” which is what most of the streets in Bangkok are made of.

This is because they are built up primarily of mud, one of Buddhism’s five elements. It is believed that Asalha Puja was created so that people could meditate after being covered in mud for a period, which is one of the requirements for Buddhist meditation.

When is Asalha Puja?

There are two Asalha Puja ceremonies – Dhamma puja and Asalha Sattva puja. Each follows a different sequence of events but ends the same. The first ceremony, Dhamma Purna, is in a small town square in central Bangkok. This ceremony is performed just before Asalha Puja begins and marks the start of the Buddhist season when these ceremonies are particularly widespread.

  • Year > 2021
  • Date > July 24
  • Weekday > Saturday

Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day Meaning

During Asalha Puja Sattva, or “eightfold path” penance, devotees wash their hands and feet in the sacred river. Then, they cut a hole in their palms and prayed to Buddha, hoping he would protect them from evil and assist them in achieving name or favourable circumstances. It is believed that the monk can reach Buddha by cutting a hole in the palm.

Asalha Puja (also known as Asadha Puja or Asanha Bucha in Thailand, Thai: อาสาฬหบูชา) is a Theravada Buddhist festival.

History of Asalha Puja

It is believed that Ajatsatru, the founder of Buddhism in India, initiated this ritual. According to legend, Ajatsatru envisioned a Bodhisattva riding an elephant and guiding the Bodhisattvas. The legend further states that Ajatsatru cut off a cow’s head, symbolizing Buddha’s wisdom, and bellied down the road to establish a monastery.

When asked what he had seen, Ajatsatru answered, “A Bodhisattva is going to teach the people to make the right choice.” As a sign of respect for Ajatsatru’s teaching, his hands and feet were cleansed of dirt, and the monks began to ride on the Bodhi tree, a small tree considered sacred in Buddhist teachings.

Asalha Puja Celebrations

In the first week of August, Asalha Puja was celebrated with grandeur and attended by hundreds of devotees. The main entrance was guarded by twenty-four elephants carrying banners reading “Bodhi – The Place of Ultimate Bliss.” The monks came from as far as Narsipatnam, Thailand and went straight to the monastery. As they arrived there, they heard a Bodhisattva declare, “I have realized the ultimate truth. May everyone who enters the forest of samadhi be enlightened.”

The ceremony followed a week of festivities and rituals at the Ajanta Temple. Ajatsatru’s son Jiva performed a special puja, and Ajatsatru himself recited Ajatsatru himself recited the first sermon of the Buddha’s enlightenment. As the monks walked towards the threshold of Narsipatnam’s holy grove, they were greeted by a Bodhisattva who offered them the best boon, a good destination, and the best help in making their quest for wisdom a success.

In the ensuing battle, the soldiers performed Ashtanga pranayama (bend & manca), and the bodhisattvas took them to the abode of Buddha. This account of Asalha Puja & Ashtanga pranayama is told by Sunthorn Phu of Banyan sect in his book “Asana and Bhastrika.”

Md Jahidul Islam

Hi! I am Md Jahidul Islam. Love To Travel Around The world and find out Culture and Celebrate. and My Team as Well. We believe that every day should be celebrated and that today is the day! Our aim is to bring all of the world’s National Day under one roof and to create the ultimate guide to celebrating each and every day.

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