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Makhabucha Day celebrated throughout Chiang Mai

Run For Relief

Bennett Lerner records Claude Debussy

Makhabucha Day celebrated throughout Chiang Mai

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.

Chiang 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 Thailand.

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 and Vietnam.

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 Buddha.

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 personal gain.

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.

Run For Relief

Marion Vogt

A charity fun run on Saturday, March 5, will be perfect for families with children, school groups or mates from work. The event at the Chiang Mai 700 Year Anniversary Stadium includes a 5 km run and a children’s run. All levels of athletes and non-athletes are welcome – the run is a non-competitive fun event for the entire family and helping a good cause at the same time.

All money raised will be used to purchase relief supplies (food, medicines, blankets) for the Internally Displaced People along the border regions and inside Burma. The current armed conflict has left almost 25,000 people homeless since November 2004, with no food or shelter from the cold weather.

Details to pencil in your diary:
“Run for Relief”
Date: March 5, 2005
Time: 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. 5 km run, 9 a.m. children’s run
Where: 700 year Anniversary Stadium
Cost: 200 baht
T-shirts: 200 baht (optional)

Bennett Lerner records Claude Debussy

Jan Verwers
(musical aficionado)

To the list of musicians that have recorded the complete piano music of Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918), soon can be added the name of a resident of Chiang Mai. Dr. Bennett Lerner, well-known to most of us, has been invited by the American Bridge Records label in New York to record all of the piano compositions by this famous French composer.

Dr. Bennet Lerner

“I have been dreaming of doing this for so many years,” said Dr. Lerner, “and now I will have a chance to present my interpretation of this gorgeous music.”

Bennett Lerner’s views on Debussy are well known in Chiang Mai, ever since he gave a series of four Debussy recitals at Payap University, where he is presently teaching piano in the Music Department.

For those who would like to hear Bennett Lerner play Debussy again, parallel to the four recording sessions in New York, there will be four weekends with Debussy with ‘Bennett Lerner and Friends’ at Gong Dee Studio in Soi Nimmanheminda 1. The first dates are July 8-10, followed by concerts and other presentations in September and November, 2005 and February, 2006. In addition to the complete solo piano works (including two recently discovered “new” pieces); these concerts will also include some of Debussy’s chamber music.