Asalha puja (Asadha puja) is a puja to Buddha during the full moon in the month of Asalha. Asalha is a name of the month in Buddhis calendar, which is two months after the month of Vesak.
Asalha Puja is done in memory or commemorate the Buddha gave his first teaching (Dhamma) and the day when Three Noble Gems (Tiratana) is formed, which is Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.
The History of Asalha Noble Occasion
Two months after Siddhartha attaining enlightenment and became Buddha,
Brahma Sahampati begged Buddha to teach Dhamma (Dharma) to human beings. The Buddha, seeing through His inner eyes, knew that there were five monks who could understand His teachings. The Buddha then came and taught Dhamma to those five monks. This event happened during the full month of Asalha month.
The sermon Buddha preached that day is known as The First Turning of the
Wheel of Dhamma (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta). The sermon has a very deep meaning which enlightens humans that this life is full of turnings that bring sufferings. Therefore, there is a way to end the sufferings.
During the sermon, The Buddha explained about The Four Noble Truths (Cattari Ariya Saccani / Catur Arita Satyani):
- The Noble Truth of Dukkha
The birth, aging, sickness, death, meeting unpleasant things and people,
parting from pleasant things or people, not attaining what is wished, are sufferings (dukkha). In short, the attachment to five parts of life
(pancupadanakkhanda) is suffering.
- The Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha
Desire (tanha) causes rebirth, accompanied by inclination. This is the
desire of sensory pleasures (kāmatanhā), the desire of continuity (bhavatanhā), and desire of annihilation (vibhavatanhā).
- The Noble Truth of the End of Dukkha
Suffering (dukkha) will end when desire (tanha) is obliterated. The
obliteration of enjoyment will end the suffering.
- The Noble Truth of the Path to the End of Dukkha
The path to the end of Dukkha is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right
Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right
After preaching this first sermon, the oldest monk –Kondanna- attained
enlightenment, followed by the others. These five monks then begged Buddha to be accepted as His disciples. Buddha consecrated them as the first Bhikkhu. The community of Bhikkhu (Sangha) was formed.
Thus, the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) is complete, which is the
protector of every Buddha disciples. This event occurred during the full month in Asalha month, year 588 BC, at Isipatana Deer Park, Benares city (currently known as Sarnath, India). This event is commemorated by Buddha disciples all over the world as Asalha Puja, or Puja at the sacred day of Asalha.
Asalha is from Pali language and Asadha is from Sankrit. Pali language is the language used during the life of Buddha.
The Puja which is done together with Indonesia Tipitaka Chanting is called Asalha Mahapuja (the Grand Asalha Puja) because the puja is done by thousands Buddha disciples at Candi Borobudur yard, starting with Gotama Buddha Grand Relic Procession from Candi Mendut to Candi Borobudur.