Makha Bucha Day

Two nights ago, on the full moon of the third lunar month, we attended the Makha Bucha Day celebration at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, a gigantic new temple complex outside of Bangkok. The day commemorates two events that happened exactly 44 years apart: 1,250 "Arhantas" converged, unbidden, to hear Buddha give the principles of Buddhism, called The Ovadhapatimokha: To cease from all evil, to do what is good, to cleanse one's mind. Forty-four years later on this day, Buddha announced he'd be attaining nirvana three months later; that is, he'd die.Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a modern temple, and 100,000 people reportedly came for this week's ceremony. The complex has many facilities, but the event, which drew monks and families from all over Thailand and the world, was held outside in an area surrounding the "cetiya," or stupa. The temple is lit with spotlights that illuminate a dome covered by 300,000 statues of Buddha, each measuring 15 centimeters high. A detail from the temple's website:I can't say I understood much of what went on, but the bare fact of being in the midst of 100,000 chanting people focusing on peace was extremely powerful. Like, armhair-standing-on-end powerful. Words don't do it justice. (And unfortunately, neither do my photos.) machabuchafireworks.jpgmachabucha3.jpg

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