Asalhapuja falls on the 15th of the full moon of the 8th lunar month (or the day before Rainy retreat commences). The word ‘asalha’ is the name given to a fixed star of the lunar system. It is one of the most important days in Buddhism as it corresponds with the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta to the group of five ascetics. After hearing the dhamma of the Buddha, the group of ascetics was so instilled with faith that they requested to be ordained as his disciples. Thus was the beginning of the triple Gem — the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
Who is the Buddha?
The Buddha was the founder of Buddhism; going back to the sixth century B.C., he was born into a royal family in northern India. He grew up in wealth and luxury but one day he saw the four signs, a sick man, an old man, a deceased man and a holy man which changed his life. He realised that worldly comforts and security did not guarantee happiness. He then decided to renounce his thrown and give up all possessions in order to investigate life. He became an ascetic, learning from teacher to teacher, from school to school. They taught him much but none really knew the cause of human suffering and how to cease it. So he eventually separated himself from those religions and practices that already existed and decided to practice on his own. Eventually, after six years of practice he found the middle way, the path leading to the cessation of suffering and then he became enlightenment. From that day onwards, he was called the Buddha, the Awaken one. He continued to transfer his knowledge and taught the world for 45 years. With his Loving-kindness, compassion and patience, he had hundreds and thousands of faithful followers. He eventually passed away when he reached the age of eighty.
What is the Dhamma?
Dhamma is the Buddha’s teachings, the truth or nature which can cut through the problems and difficulties faced by mankind, and gradually eliminating them. This is what we call Dhamma and this is what should be studied and practiced throughout our daily lives so that when some negative mental thought arise in us, we’ll be able to deal with it and learn to go beyond it.
What is the Sangha?
In the suttas the word sangha means “group or assembly” which is usually used in one of two ways: it refers either to the community of ordained male monks and female monks (bhikkhu-sangha and bhikkhuni-sangha) or to the community of “noble ones” (ariya-sangha) — persons who have gained at least some degree of Awakening. Both of them follow the Buddha’s teachings, learning or practicing and teach other people.
The importance of Asalhapuja day
1. It was the day that the Buddha gave the first sermon about the middle path leading to the cessation of suffering.
2. It was the day the Sangha was created and it was from then on that they worked together to spread the Buddha’s teachings up until this day.
3. It was the day that the Triple Gem was finally complete.
The Buddhapadipa Temple, The Young Buddhist Group and The Lay Buddhist Association have great pleasure in announcing that the Celebration of Asalhapuja Day will be held at the Buddhapadipa Temple, Wimbledon, London SW19 5HJ. It celebrates the First sermon of the Buddha which was delivered to the five Ascetics at the Deer Park in Isipattana, which is the modern day Sarnath. As a result of this famous Sermon the Sangha was created for the first time.
|09.00||Gathering in the Uposatha Hall, in the basement.|
|09.30||The conferring of Certificates of Appreciation to Persons in recognition of their dedication to the dissemination of Buddhism.|
|10.00||The lighting of candles and incense by the Chairman.|
|10.15||Circumambulating the Uposatha Hall three times, Chanting and taking the Five Precepts followed by a talk in Thai & English.|
|10.45||Chanting of the Jayamangala Gatha by the Venerable Monks followed by the offering of food (Takbat) by devotees.|
|11.00||Lunch for the Venerable Monks.|
|12.00||Lunch for the Lay people and friends.|
|1.30||The Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta Chanting by the Venerable Monks.|
|1.45||A Sutta reading by a member of the Lay Buddhist Association.|
|2.00||A talk by our Guest Speaker.|
|3.00||Meditation followed by Chanting and the suffusing of loving kindness.|
|3.30||Tea, coffee, soft drinks|
Trays of non-perishable food for Takbat can be purchased in the Uposatha hall.
All proceeds go to the Temple fund. All are cordially welcome.
If you are unable to attend it but wishing to make a donation, please make a cheque PAYABLE TO THE BUDDHAPADIPA TEMPLE.
The Buddhapadipa Temple
The Young Buddhist Group
The Lay Buddhist Association
Tel: 020-8946-1357 Fax: 020-8944-5788