The beginning of Waso, the three-month Buddhist Rains Retreat, was celebrated along with the Dhammacakka Day, the Fullmoon of Waso, in pagodas across Myanmar yesterday, with devotees taking precepts from members of the Sangha, offering robes to Buddha images, and reciting religious verses.
The holy day began in the morning at the Shwedagon Pagoda with a ceremony to donate robes to the members of the Sangha at the pagoda. Also, the members of the pagoda’s Board of Trustees offered a day meal to the members of the Sangha.
The pagoda was crowded with people beginning from early morning.
Buddhist devotees can take Precepts at the pagoda every Sabbath Day during the three-month Waso, or Monsoon Retreat period.
At the Botahtaung Pagoda, Buddhists and religious associations took part in a ceremony to offer Waso robes to the pagoda at the four entrances of the pagoda. Members of the Sangha also delivered sermons at the ceremony.
The same ceremonies were held at pagodas throughout Yangon yesterday. On this day, over 2600 years ago, the Buddha preached his first sermon, known as the Dhammacakka which means “Setting in motion the Wheel of Truth”.
A Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta recitation was also held at pagodas across the country.
On this auspicious day for Buddhists, pagodas were teeming with Buddhist devotees from morning to night. The Fullmoon of Waso is highly significant for Buddhists because this is the day that the Buddha was conceived. Later in his life, on this day, the Buddha renounced worldly pleasures.
During the three-month period of the Monsoon Retreat for Buddhist monks, pagoda Ovadacariya (patron) Sayadaws will administer sermons to devotees in the Ancient Buddha Images Hall at Shwedagon Pagoda.
The similar ceremonies were held yesterday at the Maha Wizaya Pagoda, the Botahtaung Kyeikdayup Pagoda, the Thiri Mingalar Kaba Aye Pagoda, the Kyeikwaing Pagoda, the Buddha Tooth Relics Pagoda in Yangon.
The Dhammacakka Festival marks the Buddha’s delivery of his First Sermon, known as Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth (Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta), in the Deer Park at Isipatana, near Benares in India.
He delivered this first sermon to the five ascetics with whom he had practiced severe austerities for five years.
Some months before then, when he had concluded that these ascetic practices did not produce the results he was seeking, these ascetics decided to leave him because they felt he had abandoned the holy way of life.
Left alone, the Buddha chose to follow a middle path between indulgence in sensual pleasures and the practice of self-mortification. This resulted in his attainment of Enlightenment and his discovery of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.—Yi Yi Myint/Ohmar Thant (Translated by Kyaw Zin Tun)