Greetings on Vassa or the Rains Retreat / Asalha Purnima Uposatha Full Moon Day
Today starts the Vassa or the Rains Retreat for the Buddhist Monks of the Theravada Tradition.Vassa, the annual “rains retreat,” is an annual three-month monastic retreat practiced especially in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. The three months are determined by the lunar calendar and, usually, begin in July.
During Vassa, monks remain in residence within their temples and leave its grounds only when necessary. Laypeople show their devotion and appreciation by supporting the monks with food and other necessities.
Asalha Puja is one of the most important festivals of the Thervada Buddhists because it celebrates the first teachings of Buddha. The Buddha’s first teaching is the turning of the wheel of the Dhamma (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) to the five ascetics at the Deer Park (Sarnath) near Benares city, India.
He delivered his first sermon which consisted of the essence of all of Buddha’s future teachings. This is where one of his five friends, Kondanna, attained the first level of enlightenment. He was able to understand the Truths and asked Buddha to accept him as a disciple. This led to the simple ordination process that gave birth to the order of the monks.
Buddha’s first teaching consists of the four noble truths which are:
1.Dukka – life means suffering.
2.Tanha – origin of suffering is attachment.
3.Cessation of suffering is attainable.
4.The way to cessation is via the eightfold path (Nibbanna).
It was on this day that Prince Siddhartha left his home and hearth in search of peace and a way out of suffering and dis-satisfactions of life.
May we all be able to eradicate ignorance, gain confidence in the Dhamma, realise the Truth of impermanence and be able to share love and compassion with one and all. May we have a good retreat or lent.
SADHU SADHU SADHU……..