Asalha Puja Greeted at the Scenic Beauty of Reckong Peo, Himachal Pradesh

The Buddhist Channel, 2 August 2023

Reckong Peo, Himachal Pradesh (India) -- Reckong Peo, the captivating capital of Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh, provides a rejuvenating experience for adventurous travelers. Perched at an elevation of 2,300 meters, the place is renowned for its traditional architecture, vibrant culture, rich Buddhist spirituality and sprawling apple orchards, thriving in the mild climate throughout the year.

Brimming with life and serenity, Reckong Peo offers a unique vantage point to witness two of the greatest Himalayan peaks – Kinnaur Kailash (6,050m) and Raldang (5,499m) – a sight to behold.

Kinnaur Kailash holds deep religious significance as it is believed to be one of the mythical abodes of Lord Shiva. At its peak, a 79 feet high rock formation called the Siva Linga captivates visitors, with its color-changing phenomenon throughout the day, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Another remarkable aspect of Kinnaur is its vibrant and colorful women, elegantly adorned in traditional attire. Engaging with the locals offers valuable insights into the lives of the people in this quaint hill-town.

On August 2, 2023, as the rainy season begins in this region of India, Buddhist monks adhere to their tradition of "Ashad Purnima" or "Asalha Puja," a time when they remain in one place to welcome the seasonal rains. This practice is also observed in countries like Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, where Buddhist monks engage in "Varshavas" or "Vassas" around the same time each year.

In the Kinnaur district, the observance of Ashad Purnima has been a continuous tradition, thanks to the efforts of the esteemed scholar Geshe Palden Tsengge Rinpoche, who established the Chhoskhor Ling Buddhist Service Association.

The origin of this tradition dates back to Buddha's time when monks faced challenges during heavy rains, hindering their travels for sermons and alms-rounds. The increased water levels in rivers and drains made it difficult for them to move and even the Buddha himself fell ill walking in the rain. Moreover, the rainy season led to an abundance of small creatures, insects and mites, unintentionally harmed as monks wandered. Crops in fields were also damaged due to their movements.

To address these issues, Buddha instructed monks to stay in one place during the rainy season, giving rise to the observation of the rains retreat or "vassa." This period allowed monks to dedicate themselves to spiritual contemplation, engage in religious discussions, exchange views, learn sutra lessons by heart and meditate with concentration. It is believed that the rainy season is conducive to meditation.

Devotees who follow the path of Pancasila (the five precepts) and the Noble Eightfold Path (Arya Attangika Magga) also spend this time reflecting on Buddha's teachings and engaging in daily meditation.

During the rainy season, since monks cannot go for alms, householders are encouraged to make offerings (dana) and provide food to them. Following this tradition, devotees from various villages in Kinnaur visit the numerous gompas (monasteries) scattered around Reckong Peo during the rainy season to offer food and other essentials to the monks.

This year, the rains retreat at Reckong Peo and around Kinnaur commenced officially on August 2, 2023 and will last for three months. The monks at one of the many gompas found here, in particular those from Chhos Khor Buddhist Sewa Sangha ( will remain stationed at the gompa premises throughout the vassa period, focusing on studies, teaching the Dharma, conducting rituals, maintaining the temple and performing other spiritual practices.

A visit to Reckong Peo during this time of the year not only offers the delight of its natural beauty and the awe of its magnificent peaks but also allows one to experience the spiritual ambiance of vassa. The connection to Buddhist traditions and customs, dating back 2600 years, can be felt here, making a journey to Reckong Peo and Kinnaur district a spiritually enriching experience of a lifetime – a bucket-list destination not to be missed.
We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: