วันพุธที่ 4 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2559

MBU Vesak Day 2016 at Sanam Luang, Bangkok

Picture credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

The 18th Annual Buddhism Promotion Week Event to Mark the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away of the Buddha on the Holy Occasion of Vesakha Bucha Day for the Year 2016 at Sanam Luang, Bangkok , Thailand

14-20 May, 2016

Significance of Vesakha Bucha Day (Buddha Day)
            Vesakha Bucha Day or Buddha Day is a very prominent day for all Buddhists to celebrate as it specially marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha, which all occurred on the same day more than 2,500 years ago. As Vesakha Bucha Day was recognized in 1999 by United Nations as “International Day”, the Buddhist assembly has considered Vesakha Bucha day worldwide as a special day to commemorate the teachings of the lord Buddha in the Thai Buddhist style.
This year, the “Buddhism Promotion Week” event features merit-making ceremonies, activities, exhibitions and other forms of celebration throughout the week to honor its three events of the Buddha, including His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit as Buddhist role models for Thai Buddhists.
 Since 1984, the event has become as a beautiful part of Thai Buddhist tradition annually and a great chance, especially for this year’s Buddhism Promotion Week event, to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the King and the Queen as the heads of the Buddhist country of Thailand.

Objectives of the Event

1.     To honor HM the King and HM the Queen and to do good deeds for HM the King and HM the Queen.
2.     To use Buddhadhamma (Buddha’s teachings) to help bring Thai Buddhists peace, love and harmony.
3.     To put Thailand, a Buddhist country, forward to the top country leadership and the hub of Buddhism.
4.     To pass on the Buddhist Vesakha Bucha tradition from generation to generation eternally.






Responsible Agencies  

Agencies, which consist of Thailand’s Buddhism Promotion Center, Department of Religious Affairs, Department of Provincial Administration as well as National Office of Buddhism, are directly in charge of the Buddhism Promotion Week event for the year 2016. To make the event successful, the responsible agencies will be informed through the official letters with enclosed documents giving more details of the event, schedules, responsibilities and tasks after an official approval from the appointed committee, in order to be easy for the committee to elect masters of ceremonies in each day of the event during 14-20 May at Sanam Luang this year.
As for the main Vesakha Bucha ceremonies, the organizers in charge of the Buddhism Promotion Week event are going to hold ceremonies paying homage to the Thai great Kings, inviting Buddha’s relics to the royal Sanam Luang site, giving alms to monks, devoting oneself to the Buddha by keeping the five basic precepts, lighting candles, offering robes to monks as well as inviting Buddha’s relics back to the Grand Palace.  
As a good start of the event, the event committee will invite Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-O-cha to preside over precept-keeping and candlelight ceremonies. More than that, the commanders from Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Air Force and Royal Thai Police will be invited to preside over robe-giving ceremony, including a ceremony of inviting Buddha’s relics back to the Grand Palace, on May 20, the final day of the event.  


Opening Ceremony, Event Ceremonies and Activities


Opening Ceremony
May 14, 2016 - Grand opening ceremony presided over by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at around 17.30 p.m.

Event Ceremonies and Activities
-                     A processional ceremony of bringing Buddha’s relics moving along with a parade of flags, soldiers, monks, nuns, government officials, armed forces students, medical students and people to Sanam Luang. 
-                     A ceremony of chanting and meditation practice to honor His Majesty the King.
-                     An activity for Buddhists to listen to informative sermons on the previous lives of the Buddha given by well-educated monks.
-                     A ceremony of rice pudding made from rice mixed with water, milk, beans and taros.
-                     An activity for Buddhists to show good faith to Buddha’s teachings and to practice some Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings).
-                     A Buddhist award presentation ceremony to honor those who have made commitments and contributions to Buddhism.
-                     A candlelight ceremony to worship the relics of the Buddha.
-                     An activity for regular students to compose slogans and write poems (prizes are ready to be given). The Ministry of Education is in charge of this activity.
-                     A group chanting activity for students to encourage young students to get closer to its real beauty of the Buddhist mantras that are filled with the Buddha’s teachings. The Department of Religious Affairs is in charge of this activity.
-                     A Dhamma preaching activity for students to give Buddhist students a great opportunity to pass on some Dhamma of the Buddha to all participants. Department of Religious Affairs and Buddhist Sunday Study School Administration Center are in charge of this activity.
-                     A ceremony of reciting the Dhammacakkapapavattana Sutta (Wheel of the Dhamma), the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment, to commemorate the teaching of the Buddha in celebration of Vesakha Bucha day.
-                     A MBU Dhamma activity for students and participants to pass on the Buddha’s teachings to young students and all participants. Mahamakut Buddhist University or MBU is responsible for this activity.
-                     Activities for all, held by Wat Yannawa and Wat Saket well known to tourists as the Temple of Golden Mount, to promote Buddha’s teachings and Buddhism.
-                     A Buddhist activity for all, held by Khun Ongsorn, Khun Panaananphot and Khun Theuoenboud, to increase a deeper understanding of Buddhism. A team of monks from Anam sect is responsible for this activity.





Contests and Competitions include: 
-         Group chanting
-         Slogans & essay writing
-         Answering Dhamma questions
-         Dhamma preaching 


Ceremonies of Award Presentation
Awards can be divided into three parts as follows:
1)   Awards for Excellence in Buddhism Promotion
2)   Awards for Excellence in Educational Management
3)   Awards for Outstanding Buddhist Book for Young Readers



Vesakha Bucha Day Campaign
            The Buddhism Promotion Week event is annually held to mark the anniversary of the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha on the auspicious occasion of Vesakha Bucha Day or Buddha Day. Significantly, the event is thought to be Buddhist campaign for Buddhism promotion that urges Thai Buddhists, government and private sectors and religious institutions to be well aware of Buddhist duties and Buddhist affairs as a way to preserve Buddhism.   To promote Buddhism, the event organizers invite state sectors, private sectors and temples to decorate educational institutions, temples and houses with Thai national flags and Buddhist flags during the 7-day event to honor the Buddha’s three events (birth, enlightenment and passing away) and to symbolically promote Buddhism.

Invitations to do good for yourself and others on Vesakha Bucha day

Buddhists are always invited to participate in such activities on Vesakha Bucha day as follows: 1) Alms-giving, 2) Listening to Dhamma talks, 3) Candlelight procession, 4) Keeping the five precepts to avoid doing bad deeds
Monks living in temples nationwide are invited to hold activities to welcome Buddhists from all walks of life to cultivate merit on Vesakha Bucha day. The recommended activities that the temples should do are as follows: 1) Hold and display exhibitions for Vesakha Bucha day, 2) Open temples and temple libraries to those interested Buddhists who are eager to study more about Buddhism, 3) Hold merit-making activities such as Dhamma talks, monk ordination, candlelight, bathing Buddha images and etc.

Administrators, teachers, scholars and those involved in educational institutions at all levels are requested to stage Vesakha Bucha Day exhibitions, hold Dhamma preaching contests or activities, bring students to make merit at nearby temples and hold an activity for students to keep the five precepts.

All employers in state sectors, private sectors, companies, factories and other organizations are invited to pass on some Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) to all Thais working there and encourage them to give alms to monks, listen to Dhamma talks, keep the five precepts and do good deeds.

Those working in the media industry are invited to keep people informed about activities for Buddhists to get involved during the event and hold activities for Buddhists to support Buddhism.
  
Results expected  
1.     To offer Thai Buddhists a chance to participate in the Buddhism Promotion Week event on the auspicious occasion of Vesakha Bucha Day (International Day) for the year 2016 to honor His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen.
2.     To make Thai Buddhists aware of the significance of Buddhism and wisely adapt some Buddhadhamma (Buddha’s teachings) to better the quality of life.
3.      To put Buddhism and Thailand forward to the universal level and become the hub of Buddhism.

4.     To build love and harmony among Thais to lead Thailand into unity. 



My special thanks and love go out to Dr. William Yaryan for your reading and useful comments.


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