Worshippers call for designation of Makabucha as ?day of family love?

TNA, Feb 23, 2005

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Buddhists celebrating the most important day in the religious calendar today urged the government to designate Makabucha day as a national event to celebrate family love.

Pouring into the religious monument of Phuttamonthon this morning to take part in events organized by the National Buddhism Office, crowds of worshippers brought food as offerings for 300 monks.

Mrs. Uraiprapha Rojanasit, a company employee, told reporters that all Thais should go to their temple and make merit to mark Makabucha Day, the day which Lord Buddha gave the first sermon to his acrolytes.

By going to the temple, she said, she was able to learn how to still her emotions and recognise the importance of compassion and giving.

?No-one can force us to make merit?, she noted. ?But going to the temple, making merit and giving donations makes us feel good, and gives auspiciousness to our lives. In this age of competition, when we work hard and don?t have anywhere to rely on, going to the temple makes us feel good?.

Mrs. Duangduen Sonmark, a 34 year-old company worker, said that she regularly attended the temple on important Buddhist holy days.

But while noting that young people were taking a renewed interest in Buddhism, she said that most went with groups of friends rather than family members. She called on the government to designate Makabucha day as a day of family love, in order to encourage families to make religious merit together.