15 July 2011

Asalha Puja

Today is Asalha Puja, sometimes called Dharma Day, which commemorates the first turning of the Wheel of the Dharma.  Vassa, the three-month Rains Retreat, begins tomorrow.

I get that in Mahāyāna practice there is not a lot of emphasis on the historical Buddha or on celebrations that surround key moments in the early development of Buddhism.  But what could better capture the Mahāyāna spirit than Asalha Puja?  Here we see the Buddha, having cleared the mind, now liberating all sentient beings with the Dharma.  What he did, we also aspire to do.

But reenactment is not the order of the day, and if by turning the Wheel we mean giving a lecture on the Four Noble Truths, we've missed the point, too:
The kid is cranky.  Now turn the Wheel.
You land the much needed job.  Now turn the Wheel.
The soup is spilled.  Now turn the Wheel.
A friend needs a hand.  Now turn the Wheel.
You inherit a fortune.  Now turn the Wheel.
The spouse dies.  Now turn the Wheel.
A most propitious Asalha Puja, sangha!

No comments:

Post a Comment