Buddhism is spiritual tradition that emphasis on spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. Around the world there are 376 million followers that are strongly devoted to Lord Buddha teachings. Every year they celebrate Buddhist festivals with full enthusiasm and love, they gather together and spread Buddhist teachings around the globe, reaffirming their commitment to Buddhist practices and traditions they believe that the path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality and wisdom.
Sangha Day is second most important Buddhist festival. This festival is known as Fourfold assembly or Magha Puja Day. According to the old Indian calendar Sangha Day is the third lunar month which usually celebrated in February or early March. Every year this festival is celebrated in honour of the Sangha or the Buddhist community. It is opportunity or chance for devotee’s to reaffirm their commitment to Buddhist practices and traditions.
Sangha Day commemorates to the sermon Lord Buddha gave at the Vervana Monastery to over 1, 250 enlightened disciples or monks all of whom had spontaneous gathered together from different parts of country without prior notice to hear the Buddha preach at Veluvana Vihara. The Buddha gave his first sermon or recitation of the Patimokkha (the rules and regulations of the monastic order) at this gathering. Buddha outlined the rules of monastic discipline later written down to become the Vinaya Pitaka scriptures which enlist the rules monks and nuns need to abide by. Sangha Day is celebrated more prominent in the West than the East and is a time for get together, exchange gifts and refreshing one’s commitment to Buddhist way of life. On this special occasion, a large number of Buddhist communities gather together and undertake a variety of activities including meditation, discussion, readings from scriptures, chanting and simply socializing.
The Three Jewels
There are three jewels of Buddhism: The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. Each of three jewels is very much precious.
The Buddha is precious because he is an individual who gained enlightenment and was willing to guide others to gaining enlightenment too. The Dhamma are precious too because they are means of understanding what one needs to acquire so as to gain enlightenment. Lastly, the Sangha is precious because it is through the support of the spiritual community that commit to practice can be sustained.
On this holy Sangha Day, Buddhists review their commitment by reciting three refuges:
I go for refuge to the Buddha
I go for refuge to the Dhamma
I go for refuge to the Sangha
Sangha is the Buddhist spiritual community. On Sangha Day Buddhists celebrate idea of creating a spiritual community and make an effort to share spiritual knowledge and experiences. Sangha Day is a traditional time for exchange of gifts; it has become eminent festival among Western Buddhists but not among Eastern. Sangha Day celebrations could vary but it includes chanting, meditation, lighting oil lamps, and the reaffirmation of people’s commitment to Buddhist practice.