WORLD

BUDDHIST DEVOTEES THRONG THAI TEMPLES TO MAKE MERIT DURING WESAK DAY

22/05/2024 07:10 PM

BANGKOK, May 22 (Bernama) -- Thailand, the world's second-largest Buddhist population, today observed Wesak Day, honouring the birth, enlightenment and Parinirvana (passing away) of the religion's founder, Siddharta Gautama, by visiting temples to make merit.

There are over 40,000 Wats (Buddhist temples) throughout the country, while saffron-clad monks are a common sight these days.

A Deputy Abbot at Wat Nong Bua Hing in Ratchaburi Centrale province in Thailand and Professor at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU), Phrakrupalad Suravut Siriwattago, said more than 30,000 officially registered temples in Thailand, not including hermitages and monastic residences, had started the preparation since weeks before.

“Monks, novice monks, lay people, and temple staff, with some local villagers, participate for the preparation such as cleaning the temple grounds and arranging areas for devotees to make merit,” he told Bernama when met recently.

During Wesak Day, traditionally the Thais will visit temples to listen to a sermon, receive precepts, attending Buddhist chants and offer alms at the temple.

Phrakrupalad Suravut said many devotees will also offer meal to the monks, help clean temple and doing silent meditation in the temple.

“As Thai Buddhists, we place great importance on this day. Monks in Thailand participate by making merit, listening to Dhamma talks, and performing candlelit processions.

“For example, at Nong Bua Hing Temple here, we have a pagoda of Somdej Toh (a famous monk), which we walk to in a candlelit procession; and during this procession, we reflect on the virtues of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha,” he said.

Among Bangkok’s most visited temples especially during Wesak Day this year are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun and Wat Pho.

One of the Buddhist devotees, Phimphum Phakpho, 43, from Sukhumvit said every year she will come to make merit as well as offering and donation at Wat Pho, one of the largest temples in Thailand.

Phimphum said she is happy to see many foreign tourist in traditional Thai attire and visiting temples to make merit.

“Many of them even wear Thai attire such as elephant pants or traditional attire just to pay respect during the special occasion,” she said.

Phimphum’s friend, Anongnart Boonpo, 35, said Wesak Day coincidentally falls on her birthday’s month, so she is taking the opportunity to make merits and offer donation to the temple.

“The Thais usually will visit temples during one’s birthday to do offering and donation in hope of a better luck in things we do in future,” she said.

Wesak Day, which is celebrated by Buddhists globally in honour of the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha, provided a poignant backdrop for this spiritual undertaking.

-- BERNAMA

 

 

 


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