Visakha Bucha Day in Pattaya

Visakha Bucha Day 2011

Visakha Bucha Day

Visakha Bucha (Vesak) means the worship of the Buddha on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month. It usually falls in May. In the case of a year with an extra eighth lunar month–Adhikamasa (there are 13 full moons in that year)– the Visakha Bucha Day falls on the full moon day of the seventh lunar month.

Visakh Bucha day is a day of making merit and this was a day I have been looking forward to as Buddha and I needed to have a long talk.

I’m a firm believer that every Thai holiday is best enjoyed in the company of Thai friends and surrounded by Thai people, not only do you get a better understanding of whats going on around you but you get a real sense of community and in the case of a spiritual holiday such as Visakha Bucha day, if you are like me, you get a nice sense of spirituality. Personally I’m not the religious type but I find a certain calm and awareness in the midst of performing the Buddhist rituals associated with such a holiday.

Luckily for me my spiritual awakening this day was close at hand as Wat Chi Mong Khon just happens to be right around the corner from my condo. I spent the day with my good friend Tukta and we decided it would be nice to head to the Wat at sunset. As we walked up the street I started thinking carefully what I would speak to Buddha about and hoped he was in a listening mood today.

Visakha Bucha Day 2011

As we approached the Wat the crowds of faithful grew thicker and as we entered the Wat grounds we had our first opportunity for a Buddhist blessing as an elder monk was performing mass blessings in front of the main courtyard. We removed our shoes and knelt as he said his blessings and doused us with holy water, this was my first opportunity for a little chat with Buddha.

Visakha Bucha Day 2011 Visakha Bucha Day 2011 Visakha Bucha Day 2011

Afterwards we made a donation at the gate to the main courtyard and picked up our flowers, candles and incense. After lighting the incense and candle you hold the flowers along with the lit incense and candle in a wai and walk quietly 3 times around the main halls courtyard, this was my second chance to talk with Buddha a little. After your third round you are back at the entrance where you plant the incense and candles in  holders and say a prayer to Buddha before laying the flowers down as well. I can’t explain it but this is something I really enjoy as it brings a sense of peace and well being.

We then entered the Wat where we made another offering and chose our offerings to the monk who would be giving us a blessing. The standard offering is an orange bucket filled with food and household items which we would give and we also made a special offering of saffron robes. The offerings you get right there at the Wat for an offering of money. In this case we made an offering of 300 baht, 100 baht for the bucket, 100 baht for the robes and 100 baht that we would put in the envelope and hand to the monk as well.

We then knelt before the monk as he offered us his blessing and sprinkled us with holy water. We then gave our offerings before the final blessing. The final blessing entails a small metal flask and bowl. The flask is filled with holy water and is poured into the small bowl by one person as the monk says his blessing, the second person holds onto the pouring arm of the person pouring. When the blessing is done the bowl is then taken outside and the water poured onto a tree.

As Tukta poured out the water I saw my last chance to speak with Buddha, A small offering chest where you can write your wishes or thoughts down and add them with your offering. I had my chance to speak with Buddha several times and while I thought I would say one thing I ended up saying something completely different. I summed it all up with my last offering. Thank you for the opportunity to live in this wonderful country and enjoy it’s amazing culture, Thank you for the many Thai and foreign friends I have made and Thank you for allowing me to take part is this special day.

Visakha Bucha Day 2011


9 Responses to Visakha Bucha Day in Pattaya
  1. Mike
    May 18, 2011 | 7:48 am

    Talen, I must admit that I too enjoy Buddhist ceremony, much more to my liking than what my Christian upbringing forced on me on occasions.

    Just a small observation, not to detract from your post.

    Why is it foreigners are constantly fed the line about dressing respectfully at Thai temples?

    The ladies(Thai) in the photos clearly haven’t read the same script ;-)
    Mike recently posted..Travel Guide Bangkok to Hua HinMy Profile

    • Talen
      May 18, 2011 | 7:52 pm

      Mike, there really is something peaceful to the rituals and ceremonies and probably the reason I love Wats so much.

      The dress code wasn’t strictly adhered to on all sides and that’s partly due to it being a tourist town but also at the time we went a lot of people were coming straight from work. I guess when it’s a major Buddhist holiday the powers that be tend to look the other way to some extent.

  2. Catherine
    May 18, 2011 | 10:16 am

    Great post Talen. But you didn’t ask Buddha if you could PLEASE PLEASE win the lottery to ensure good health?
    Catherine recently posted..Visakha Bucha Day &amp Happy Birthday &amp VOTEMy Profile

    • Talen
      May 18, 2011 | 7:49 pm

      Cat, that was on my mind but I decided not to be selfish…a little sickness won’t stop me.

  3. Martyn
    May 19, 2011 | 7:12 am

    Talen you’ve cleared up a mystery for me. I was in the small town near Wi’s village the other day and a procession of cars and trucks were parading on the main street. At the front was a truck with a big golden Buddha in the back with a handful of monks. It was obviously Visakha Bucha Day.

    Nice post and I hope you enjoyed drinking your beer from tea cups in Pattaya.
    Martyn recently posted..One Giant Leap Backwards – Thai Style American BreakfastMy Profile

    • Talen
      May 19, 2011 | 12:23 pm

      Martyn, believe it or not I enjoyed a nice dinner after the Wat activities and then a quiet evening at home alcohol free…although not female free :P

  4. Paul Garrigan
    May 19, 2011 | 7:15 am

    Hi Talen, I like to think of these rituals as a type of meditation. I used to feel a bit self-conscious about being a foreigner at a Thai temple – even though I’ve been involved with Buddhism since my early teens. I just started concentrating on the movements though; as you say it is very calming.
    Paul Garrigan recently posted..Ex-Pat Late Bloomers in ThailandMy Profile

    • Talen
      May 19, 2011 | 12:20 pm

      Paul, for some reason I’ve never felt self conscious being a foreigner doing the rituals…more so about possibly screwing them up and looking stupid.

  5. SiamRick
    May 20, 2011 | 4:29 pm

    What a lovely post and you ended up explaining a thing or two for me, namely the rituals, to which you bring your own meaning. Maybe I won’t feel like such a charlatan at the next temple visit. Thanks.
    SiamRick recently posted..Air Canada and Cathay Pacific- roses and brickbatsMy Profile

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