Makha Bucha, Māgha Pūjā or the Full Moon of Tabodwe is an important Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon day of Māgha. The spiritual aims of the day are: not to commit any kind of sins; do only good; purify one's mind. It is an occasion when Buddhists tend to go to the temple to perform merit-making activities.
The third lunar month is known in the Thai language as Makha (Pali: Māgha); Bucha is also a Thai word (Pali: Pūjā), meaning "to venerate" or "to honor". As such, Makha Bucha Day is for the veneration of Buddha and his teachings on the full moon day of the third lunar month.
Māgha Pūjā day marks the four auspicious occasions occurring at the Veḷuvana bamboo grove, near Rājagaha in northern India ten months after the enlightenment of the Buddha. On that occasion, as recorded in the commentary to the Mahāsamayasutta, four marvellous events occurred:
- 1,250 disciples came to see the Buddha that evening without being summoned.
- All of them were Arahants, Enlightened Ones, and
- All were ordained by the Buddha himself: Ehibhikkhus.
- It was the full-moon day.
On this occasion the Buddha gave those Arahants the principles of Buddhism, called "The ovadapatimokha". Those principles are: To cease from all evil; To do what is good; To cleanse one's mind. In Thailand, this teaching has been dubbed the "heart of Buddhism".
On the evening of Magha full-moon day, each temple in Thailand holds a candlelight procession called a wian thian (wian meaning to circle around; thian meaning candle). Holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle, the monks and congregation members walk clockwise three times around the phra ubosot (ordination hall), once for each of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
tham bun: Making merit by going to temples for special observances and join in the other Buddhist activities.
rap sin': Keeping the Five Precepts. Practice of renunciation: Observe the Eight Precepts, practice of meditation and mental discipline, stay in the temple, wearing white robes, for a number of days.