Magha Puja, Community Building

The 2nd most important Buddhist celebration of the year is now, Magha Puja, in memory of a gathering between 1250 disciples and Buddha 10 months after his enlightenment. The day is dedicated to community, by honouring this very first ideal community (Sangha) created by Buddha and his followers, which is often understood as a monastic community. This day celebrates community, all community builders and organisers and their legacy of bringing into organised communities resilience, unity and harmony according to the precepts of Buddhism. 

How else can community day be celebrated if not by gathering together, meditating, listening to teaching, giving onto others and just being together and performing as a community. 

Traditionally this celebration is held on a full moon day, on the 3d month of the traditional lunar calendar and named after the star that appears closest to the full moon in this time of the year. And on this day Buddha taught his enlightened disciples about the pillar principles that summarise Buddhism, an continued to do so for 20 years : 

  1. Patience, restraint  and austerity delivering no harm or injury
  2. Strive for wholeness, do no evil and purify the mind 
  3. Self discipline and moderation in lifestyle 

As human life, culture and faith moves along with the rhythm of the planet, in South East Asia Magha Puja also marks the beginning of the agricultural year following the first harvest. 

How is it celebrated?  By meditation, prayer and actions that bring about self-improvement, processions, lighting of fires and attending prayers and making offerings at the temples. In some areas celebration envisages setting animals free. 

Published by Lorenzo Nava

Consultant, Trainer and Coach, on participatory learning processes, experiential learning dynamics, non formal education and NLP certified practitioner