Dharma Day, also known as Asalha Puja, falls on the first full moon of the 8th lunar month and celebrates the day in which Buddha began teaching. It’s a holiday that celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. The word Dharma can be translated as meaning truth and is one of the terms used when describing a path to enlightenment. Buddha’s first sermon was “Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma.”
Who Was Buddha?
In his life, before he achieved enlightenment, Buddha was a wealthy prince named Siddhartha Gautama. He became dissatisfied with his material existence and wanted to experience life outside of the walls of his palace. He also wanted to obtain what he thought was ultimate wisdom and truth. So he decided to become an ascetic and leave behind his family name and wealth. However, he found the ascetic life to be somewhat disappointing, so her left it and went to meditate under a tree. It was there that he finally achieved enlightenment – after many trials and tribulations. He found that his heart was filled with a deep peace – a bliss that he wanted to share with all beings.
Buddha returned to the ascetic order and shared his experience with them. He taught them the 4 Noble Truths and recommended to them the Eight-Fold Path. This is what is known as setting the Wheel of Dharma in motion. These truths proclaim that life entails much loss & difficulty, or what is known as dukkha. However, a person may free themselves from dukkha by focusing on dharma – or ultimate truth.
Celebrating Dharma Day (Asalha Puja)
On this day, many Buddhist all over the world head to their temples to practice Dharma. They also tithe money to the monks and listen to sermons that tells them of the great beginning. Often, candles and incense are lit before or during the sermons.