Saturday 8th August
THE THERAVADA PUJA
and Dharma Elements
at the Rojana Center, Suk. 23
Once a month we gather for a full on Thai Buddhist Puja, for English speakers. This is the ceremony that is held daily in Thai temples, for all echelons of Thai society, from local towns to the Palace. It’s the staple entry to Thai Buddhism. This is ‘Theravada’ Buddhism, known as the Way of the Elders, as practised widely in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. In Thai it is called ‘Tamwat Chao’.
You’re welcome to just observe, or join in – everything will be printed out so you can follow exactly what is occurring.
Come gather at the Rojana center on Sukhmvit 23 – it’s an 11 minute walk from Asoke BTS and MRT, or you can take a motorcycle from Soi 23.
- 9:30 gather at the center
- 10:00 Start of the Puja
- 10:30 Dharma talk: Dharma Elements – the matrix of the actual teachings in Buddhism, with Pandit Bhikkhu
- 11:15 Questions and comments
- 11:30 Formal food offering and blessing
There is no charge, and no need to book in advance. Please come on time, as it is disturbing to the proceedings if people are coming and going.
We host many talks with different teachers, but this is how Buddhism is actually done, in Thai temples.
Every morning and evening in Thai temples there is a ‘Puja’ (Bucha Phra) – a ceremony where the community gathers, lights candles and incense, and performs some chanting and bowing rites. This is how Thai Buddhism works.
Such daily rituals are a mark of all forms of Buddhism (and other religions) – but for what reason? ‘Tamwat Chao‘ morning chanting is fundamental mark of Thai Buddhism, but not one that is well understood by visitors to the country.
Feel free to observe, join in, or take pictures. This is Thai Buddhism when it is not watered down for the public.
Dharma Talk Topic:
Dharma Elements is a topic I have been wanting to do for a long time. We host many speakers and have talks on different speakers, but it is rather ad hoc. It can’t be easy to place all these different teachings in a systematic order – yet they do all fit together neatly. The Four Noble Truths, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Karma, sense desire, Kilesa and all the rest.
My own Preceptor (the abbot who gave me ordination) and teacher would always put these teachings together during his talks. At first I thought it was ‘formulaic’, but in time I came to appreciate having all the pieces of the jigsaw in the right places. This way it was more consistent, which really helped me in my early years struggling to get by in a Thai temple and strange culture. In fact, for the first couple of years, I couldn’t understand what he was saying in Thai, but could only pick out the Pali teachings that I was familiar with from England. It was the only familiar thing I had, miles from anywhere in a Thai country temple. Those days were pre-internet, but now you can see him easily on Youtube – it’s in Thai of course:
This was my ordination in 1996:
So I want to do something like my preceptor did (and does still at nearly 90 years old), and rattle off a number of the teachings so as to put them in order, and in place.
This is a new location for us, but we will be here every month from now on, so it is good to get on your radar.
The Rojana Center is on Sukhumvit 21 Soi 1 – or you can more easily get there from Sukhumvit 23. It is an 11 minute walk from Asoke BTS and MRT stations. Best to cross over Asoke Raod by the skywalk from the BTS station – it will save you much time!
Easiest is to take a motorcycle from the entrance to Soi 23 – the motorcycle drivers should all know exactly where the Rojana Center is – I will do my best to make sure they are informed.