One of the most enduring and evocative traditions at Nalanda is the “Achariya-abhivādana” – where Nalandian officers formally pay respect to teachers past and present. The simple ceremony is performed on special occasions such as ‘Buddha Day’, ‘Dhamma Day’, ‘Sangha Day’, ‘Education Day’ (on 11 December), Nalanda’s anniversary celebration (‘Nalanda Day’, on 1 May), and memorial days of departed achariyas.
Malaysian daily The Star reported that 135 ‘bhikshus’ (monks), ‘bhikshunis’ (nuns), and novices went on an alms-gathering procession on the streets of George Town on 8 December. The alms-round was held in conjunction with a novitiate programme organised by Kek Lok Si, the largest Māhayana Buddhist monastery in Penang.
Nalanda Buddhist Society will be celebrating our annual ‘Sangha Day’ next month at two venues – Nalanda Centre Sri Serdang and NEO Centre Happy Garden in Kuala Lumpur. ‘Sangha Day’ is dedicated to honour, appreciate and support the monastic order of bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns) – the pillars of Buddha-Sāsana. On this day, devotees offer them robes as well as requisites such as medicinal products and food supplements.
The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are collectively known in Buddhism as the ‘Three Jewels’ (Pāli, “Tiratanā”). They are also regarded by Buddhist adherents as our ‘Three Refuges’ (Pāli, “Tisaranā”). Buddhists revere these ‘Three Jewels’ with the highest esteem – the ‘Buddha’ is our Enlightened Teacher; the ‘Dhamma’ He taught is the Path to Liberation; and the ‘Ariya Sangha’ is the community of His Enlightened disciples. This community comprises spiritually-developed followers who attained any of the four stages of sainthood.
Monday 18 July was the Asalha Full-Moon Uposatha Day, whereupon this day 2600 years ago, the Buddha delivered the First Sermon on the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and the ‘Noble Eightfold Path’ to the world. The occasion is also known as ‘Dhamma Day’, and is one of the seven* observance days at Nalanda.
A special procession of Buddha Relic, the Tipitaka, the robe of the late Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda, and members of the Māha Sangha were held in Sri Serdang yesterday morning to mark the 10th ‘K. Sri Dhammananda Memorial Day’. The ceremonial procession from Nalanda House to Nalanda Centre was a delightful sight indeed. The calm spirituality and dignified manner in which it was held inspired everyone present at the event.
A special procession of Buddha Relic, the Tipitaka and Māha Sangha will be held at 8.45 am tomorrow (Wednesday, 31 August) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passing of Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda – Nalanda’s late Spiritual Adviser and the Sanghanāyaka Thera of Malaysia.
Yesterday, Nalanda Centre had the great honour to be bequeathed with a Buddha Relic (Pāli, “Śarīra”) – a single bone fragment of the Blessed One. The Relic was previously under the custodianship of the late Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Nāyaka Thero and Achariya Vijaya Samarawickrama for many decades.
Today is the full-moon day of Asalhamonth, which marks the occasion when the Buddha first taught the Dhamma after His Enlightenment. He spoke about the ‘Four Noble Truths’ – of ‘Dukkha’ (suffering); its causes; its cessation; and the Path to its cessation – to His first five disciples at Isipatana. That sermon which the Buddha gave became known as the famed ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta’ – the ‘Discourse on turning the Wheel of Dhamma’.
The full-moon day of Asalha month in July marks the occasion when the Buddha first preached the Dhamma to His initial few disciples. In one of the most enlightening teachings ever, the Buddha taught them the truths of life – ‘Dukkha’ (suffering); its causes; its cessation; and the Path to its cessation – henceforth termed the ‘Four Noble Truths’. At Nalanda, Asalha full-moon is celebrated as ‘Dhamma Day’, which is another important spiritual occasion after the Wesak full-moon ‘Buddha Day’ in May.