Religious ceremonies were held throughout Chiang Mai on
Wednesday, February 23, to mark the annual Makabucha Day observance.
This holy day commemorates the miraculous event when
1,250 disciples of the Buddha, Gautama Sakayamuni, traveled to meet with the
Buddha with no prearranged agreement, at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the
area of Rachakhryha, India.
Mai’s faithful were out in full force, presenting alms to monks, to
observe the annual Makhabucha Day holy day.
Worshipping or ‘Bucha’ occurs in the third month or
‘Makha’, identified in the middle of the 3rd lunar month. This year the
holy day fell on February 23.
The day gained official recognition in Thailand during
the reign of Rama IV and became a nationally observed day with all
government institutions closing down and observing the rituals associated
with Buddhist commandments.
Devout followers participate in morning ceremonies,
making merit and listening to sermons at local temples, and later in the
evening return to the temple to perform the “wien thien ceremony” -
walking three circuits around sacred grounds, paying homage to the “Triple
Gem” or the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. The day is observed all over
Other countries where the Buddhist faith is predominant
and where Makha Bucha Day is officially observed as a national day include
Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and India. Other countries with
populations observing the day but in limited numbers include China, Korea
Disseminating the Buddha’s teachings and the journey to
meet with the Buddha on the 15th night of the 3rd lunar month are part of
the historical events that include the sermons and truths spoken by the
Having good intentions, not harming others, avoiding evil
actions and making the heart and mind pure in thought were among the truths
spoken by the Buddha. Additionally, other truths spoken by the Buddha
cautioned individual restraint in all that attracts one’s attention, to
include desiring possessions belonging to others, and exploiting others for
Before departing, the Buddha also referred to the
people’s interest in making merit, gaining self-esteem and a comfortable
reassurance that moral integrity exists. More importantly, having faith in
the “Triple Gem” (Phraratanatrai) was illustrated by emphasizing the
importance of avoiding drunken, irresponsible and immoral behavior, and
maintaining focus on supporting loved ones while being content in one’s
existence with friends and without selfish greed.
Today, there are many Buddhist temples open to the
community offering the Buddha’s teachings on designated evenings during
the week without charge.