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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 9 – Makha 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 9, Makha Bucha Day. In Thai, it’s called วันมาฆบูชา (wan maa-khá-buu-chaa).
In this lesson, we're going to discuss another important day in Buddhism – Makha Bucha Day – which falls on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon in the third month of every year. Even though it isn’t as important as Vesak Day, it’s still widely recognized. It was the day Buddha declared the core principles of his doctrine for all saints to distribute.
You must be interested by now. If you're ready, let’s listen.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Many years after its inception, Makha Bucha came to be regarded as a day of gratitude. Why is that?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On Makha Bucha Day, four miracles occurred on the same day, as follows. One: it was a full moon on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon in the third month. Two: 1,250 monks came together to pay respect to the Buddha without any prior appointment. Three: all of the monks who came were saints or พระอรหันต์ (phrá aaw-rá-hăn). Four: all the monks had been ordained by the Buddha.
Because there were many monks coming together at the same time, the Buddha took this as an opportunity to announce “Ovadha Patimokha” which outlined the core principles of Buddhism. He addressed the goals, principles, and practice of Buddhism in full. To summarize, the core of this preaching is that the ultimate goal of Buddhism is nirvana or นิพพาน (níp-phaan), which is a state without passion. Principles which can lead to nirvana are to abstain from bad action, to do good, and to purify the mind. Ways to practice these include not encroaching on others, not harming others, not saying bad things about other people, keeping one’s behavior honorable, being reclusive, not annoying the community, learning to consume food appropriately, and persevering in practicing sound-mindedness.
Buddhist practices on this day include offering food to monks in the morning, preparing food – either sweet or savory – for temples at lunchtime, and listening to preaching in the afternoon. The preaching or คำสอน (kham sǎawn) is to remind people of the way to live and to enter nirvana. At night, all will gather and bring flowers and candles to the temple. They will walk around the temple with candles in their hands along with the monks. They walk in a clockwise fashion. While walking, people will remind themselves of the Buddha, his teachings, and the monks. When three rounds of walking are completed, candles and flowers are put on the altar, and the ceremony or พิธีกรรม (phí-thii gam) ends.
In Thailand, a man who wishes to ordain has to be at least twenty years old. If he is younger, he can only be ordained as a novice. Novices have to observe ten religious precepts, while monks need to observe 227 precepts. If a monk behaves inappropriately and is forced to leave the monkhood, he cannot ordain again. However, a novice can be re-ordained unless he is guilty of serious misconduct.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Many years after its inception, Makha Bucha came to be regarded as a day of gratitude. Why is that?
As many monks who were all ordained by Buddha came to pay respect to the Buddha without any appointment on this day, this is regarded as a gesture of gratitude. As a result, the government also designated this day as one of gratitude.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Does your religion have a similar belief?
Leave us a comment letting us know at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Does your religion have a similar belief?