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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 13 – Asalha Bucha Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 13, Asalha Bucha day. In Thai, it’s called วันอาสาฬหบูชา (wan aa-san-hà-buu-chaa).
In this lesson, we’re going to talk about Asalha Bucha Day, which falls on the 15th day of the waxing moon in the 8th month of every year. This is an important day for Buddhism and is a public holiday in Thailand. This was the day when the Buddha gave his first sermon after his enlightenment, and thus is considered the day when Buddhism truly began.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What is the first teaching in Buddha’s sermon after his enlightenment?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
There are three events that are important to Buddhism that take place on Asalha Bucha day. First, it was the first day that the Buddha gave a sermon, or โอวาท (oo-wâat), on his religion to monks who came to worship him. Second, it was the day that the Buddha accepted the first disciple and ordained him by himself. Third, following the acceptance of the first monk, the Three Jewels, including the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, came into trilateral existence in this world.
Common activities on this day include praying and the offering of food to monks in the morning and the offering of goods to monks and releasing birds-นก(nók) and fish-ปลา (bplaa) to redeem one’s sins. Some people may choose to observe the precepts and listen to a sermon to purify their minds and to seek internal and external happiness. In the evening, people will walk around temples with candles in their hands as they usually do on Buddhist holidays. More importantly, the King and important figures from the royal family will attend the ceremony to make merit for themselves on this day as well. Each year, their activities include offering candles and worship items to the monks, listening to the sermons, and offering food to 150 monks.
Not only has the Thai government declared Asalha Bucha Day a public holiday, it has also created and sold souvenir stamps for the day. These stamps, or แสตมป์ (sà-dtaem), start selling on Asalha Puja (Bucha) Day and mostly contain pictures about the origins of the Buddha or pictures of Buddha statues. Sometimes wall paintings about the previous lives of the Buddha are printed. These stamps are all printed with a value of 2 Baht.
In Thailand, it’s believed that a man should ordain at least once in his lifetime. The main reason is to express gratitude to his parents. It’s believed that parents, or บุพการี (bùp-phá-gaa-rii), will directly receive the merit from their son’s ordination as the son practices Dharma, observes the precepts, and studies the Buddha’s teaching during his monkhood. Moreover, ordination also helps Thai men understand themselves better, become less stubborn, and understand situations more objectively. As a result, they can solve problems more precisely and effectively. This is a benefit they will carry with them even after they leave the monkhood.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the first teaching in Buddha’s sermon after his enlightenment?
The correct answer is the sermon regarding The Middle Way. The Middle Way is considered a correct and appropriate way for people to achieve their goals. Some people may be obsessed with eternal happiness, while others may live without purpose and create trouble for themselves by relying too heavily on holy objects. To avoid these extreme ways of living, people should live in the Middle Way, meaning that one should make use of his or her wisdom, make a living with integrity, observe the precepts, and always maintain the right state of mind.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How did your religions originate? Please share it with us.
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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ThaiPod101.comVerified
Monday at 6:30 pm
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How did your religions originate? Please share it with us.

ThaiPod101.comVerified
Monday at 10:47 pm
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Hello Richard,


Thank you very much for your comment and shared. We really appreciated your kind. You have a good point. We accept difference opinion. You are so kind to birds, I think they appreciated your help. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with your Thai.


Have a good day.


Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Richard Creaser
Monday at 3:51 am
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Please forgive my ignorance, I am not Buddhist. If releasing birds and fish to redeem one's sins, it seems that someone must have sinned by capturing them. Maybe I am asking one of those questions that shouldn't be asked? And yet it is a question that I ask myself over and over. During the winter months I feed the wild birds at my home in England - food for them is scarce and the ground is frozen, it is a hard life being a bird in England. My reward is to watch them feed.