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Asalha Puja ( known as Asanha Bucha in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThailandThailand) is a
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_festivalBuddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the full moon of the eighth
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_monthlunar month. Asalha Puja, also known as Dhamma Day, is one of Theravada Buddhism’s most important festivals, celebrating as it does the Buddha’s first sermon in which he set out to his five former associates the doctrine that had come to him following his enlightenment. This first pivotal sermon, often referred to as “setting into motion the wheel of dhamma,” is the teaching which is encapsulated for Buddhists in the four noble truths: there is suffering (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dukkhadukkha); suffering is caused by craving (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta%E1%B9%87h%C4%81tanha); there is a state (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibbananibbana) beyond suffering and craving; and finally, the way to nirvana is via
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_eightfold_paththe eightfold path. All the various schools and traditions of Buddhism revolve around the central doctrine of the
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truthsfour noble truths.
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 is observed by donating offerings to
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattemples and listening to
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sermonsermons. The following day is known in Thailand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VassaWan Khao Phansa; it is the first day of
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vassavassa, the Theravada rains retreat.
In Indonesia, this festival is centered at Mendut Temple, near Borobudur .