Asanha Bucha (or Asalha Puja in other countries) is a Theravada Buddhist festival. It usually takes place at the end of July (full moon of the eighth lunar month). Another synonym for this day is ‘Dharma Day’. It is a very important buddhist festival since it celebrates the Buddha’s first sermon in which he announced the doctrine to his former associates that came to him during his enlightenment.
The first sermon (“setting into motion the wheel of dharma”) is the teaching of the four noble truths that are suffering (dukkha), which is caused by craving (tanha), then there is the state (nirvana) beyond suffering and craving and the way to nirvana (the eightfold path).
This day is not only a big celebration because of this teaching but also because all subsequent teaching by The Buddha was based on this first sermon. After this first sermon one of the associate asked to be received as a disciple, the Buddha granted this wish and thus established the first order of monks.
This first sermon is not only the first structured discourse given by the Buddha after his enlightenment, it also contains the essence of all his subsequent teaching. At the end of the talk, one of the five participants recounted his understanding of what had been said and asked to be received as a disciple, a request the Buddha granted, thus establishing the first order of monks.
The day after this days is known as “Wan Khao Phansa” (Buddhist Lent Day).
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