After a very successful hosting of Virtual Vesak and Global Prayer Week from May 7- 16, 2020, the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) in partnership with Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is now celebrating the upcoming Asadha Poornima on July 4, 2020 as Dharma Chakra Day. It will be the annual flagship event of IBC.
In keeping with the historical legacy of India being the land of Buddha’s enlightenment and awakening, his turning of the wheels of Dhamma, and Mahaparinirvana, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the Dhamma Chakra Day celebrations from Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
The Minister of Culture (Independent Charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel and Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju will also address the opening ceremony. Rest of the day’s events will be streamed from Mulagandha Kuti Vihara, Sarnath and Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya in association with Mahabodhi Society of India and Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee.
Royalties, Supreme heads of the Buddhist Sanghas and Eminent Masters and Scholars from around the world and IBC chapters, member organizations are participating.
The auspicious day of Asadha Poornima which falls on the first full moon day of the month of Asadha as per Indian sun calendar is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand. It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.
The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples (pañcavargika) on the full-moon day of Asadha at ‘Deer Park’, Ṛiṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India. This teaching of Dhamma Cakka- PavattanaSutta (Pali) or Dharma chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the First Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprised of the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
The Rainy Season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the Monks and Nuns also starts with this day lasting for three lunar months from July to October, during which they remain in a single place, generally in their temples dedicated to intensive meditation. They are served during this period by lay community who also observe Uposatha i.e. to observe eight precepts and meditate under the guidance of their teachers.
The day is also observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus.
As the leading Buddhist world body the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), is once again leading the collective aspirations of Dhamma followers worldwide by putting together a grand celebration to commemorate this very auspicious day.
Due to prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be held under strict adherence of norms and regulations as both virtual and from the sacred grounds treaded by footsteps of Buddha. In addition ceremonies and Chanting of Dhamma Cakka PavattanaSutta in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions from several countries around the world will also be live streamed.