Thailand: Religious activities take off in earnest

The Nation, February 20, 2008

Bangkok, Thailand -- Buddhist activities to mark the Makha Bucha Day on February 21 started yesterday and will continue until tomorrow at Bangkok's Wat Saket Ratchaworamahawihan.

Religious Affairs Department chief Sod Daeng-ied said besides the evening ceremony, in which Buddhists pass lighted candles clockwise around the temple's Golden Mountain three times, an exhibition on Buddhism by His Majesty the King and his elder sister HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana would be held at Wat Saket.

Sod praised the princess's support for Buddhism and for her role as honourable chairperson for the launch of the world's first Romanised edition of the Tripitaka.

Director of the Office of National Buddhism, Chularat Boonyakorn, said her office would host a ceremony for thousands people to pass lighted candles clockwise round the Buddha Monthol Buddha image in Nakhon Pathom's Salaya district tomorrow evening along with related activities.

Since tomorrow is also the 50th day of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana's passing, there will be a food-offering ceremony for monks in the morning at Bangkok's Dusit Palace plaza and also at the Buddha Monthol.

Since all temples across the country will hold merit-making to mark Makha Bucha Day tomorrow, Culture Minister Anusorn Wongwan urged all Thais, both young and old, to visit temples.

Makha Bucha Day, which falls on the third month's 15th day of the waxing moon according to the lunar calendar, commemorates the occasion when 1,250 disciples spontaneously gathered to hear the Buddha preach.