We welcome you to join us at Nalanda Centre in tonight’s Uposatha Pūja starting at 8pm. Today happens to be the religiously significant ‘Māgha Pūja ’ Day. ‘Māgha ’ is the name of a month in the Buddhist calendar; hence ‘Māgha Pūja ’ is observed on the full-moon day of that month.
According to Theravada tradition, the full-moon day of Māgha marks the spontaneous congregation of 1,250 Arahants (enlightened disciples) who came to see the Buddha at Rajagaha. The Buddha used that occasion to teach the famous ‘summary’ of His Teachings* – “Avoid all unwholesome acts; cultivate goodness; and purify one’s own mind”.
‘Māgha Pūja ’ is thus an important anniversary for Buddhists, and is a public holiday in Theravadin countries such as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar (which observes the occasion in the following month of Phālguna instead). The faithful use this occasion to observe eight precepts, perform meritorious deeds, meditate, and congregate at temples for Pūja and chanting.
* The Buddha summarised His Teachings as such –
Sabba pāpassa akaranam
Etam Buddhāna Sāsanam
“Avoid all unwholesome qualities,
Cultivate goodness skillfully, and
Purify one’s own mind –
This is the Teaching of the Buddhas.”
– The Dhammapada ‘Buddha Vagga ’, verse 183.