Celebration of Asalha Puja and Vassa (Rains Retreat) in IBC, 2018

By Ven. Ayon Barua Auvi
Asalha Puja, one of the most significant Buddhist festivals, celebrated throughout all Theravada Buddhist countries, was held in IBC on July 27, 2018. The Asalha Puja ceremony is also known as the Dhamma Day which coincides with the Vassa (Rains Retreat), is a very important especially for Theravada monastics for the observation of three months rains retreat. This day is known as the Dhamma day since on this day for the first time, the Buddha gave most comprehensive and structured sermon regarding His teachings. This sermon is known as the sermon that set the wheel of Dhamma into motion.

As unique in the world, the ceremony was celebrated very gracefully not just by any particular Buddhist tradition but together by the three Buddhist traditions like Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

The ceremony began by welcoming all venerable Sangha members, professors, lecturers, students and the other guests. Venerable Ajahn Narong initiated the main ceremony by offering light to the Triple Gem and Professor Tilak offered flowers to the H.M. King (Rama X) of Thailand on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday.

Then together we chanted in Pali led by Venerable Anandajoti Bhikkhu. As usual the ceremony of undertaking five precepts by laities was conducted and then laities offered requisites to Sangha members. Mahayana and Vajrayana monastics, after completing their respective chanting both in Mandarin and Tibetan, transferred the merits to the King His Majestyb Maha Vajiralongkorn and to all Sentient Beings.

Venerable Anandajoti Bhikkhu gave a Dhamm talk on the significance and history of the Asalha puja and Vassa ceremony. Finally we all together shared accrued merits to all beings.

Taking of group photos together with venerables, professors, teachers, students and devotees, sharing of holy strings and sprinkle of holy water to the devotees by the Venerables adjourned the ceremony.