DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE

FULL MOON IN JANUARY OF THE OLD YEAR
By Nhất Quán
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Today is February 08, 2020
The lecture I would like to introduce to the public today is The Full Moon in January of The old Year.
Talking about the full moon day of January, in the folk of Vietnamese often saying:
- January is a month of eating and playing
But, for Buddhist Layman there is a saying:
- January is the fasting month
Also, there is a sentence:
- Feast of Buddha all year-round, not equal to Buddha's feast on the full moon in January.
This shows that the full moon in January is one of the important holidays for the Vietnamese people generally speaking and in Buddhism in particular.
In these days, many temples take place festivals from provinces to the countryside, all over the country. January seems to consider the month everyone thinks of going to the temple on the first day of the year, the month for people to take care of their spiritual life, and the desire to be lucky to start working in the new year.    
Firstly, it can be said that on the full moon day of January, the atmosphere of the new year is still floating somewhere. Believing that the full moon day of January is a holy day, every Buddhist layman will start a peaceful year, by following the Buddha's teachings in order to have 365 days of satisfaction. Because of that important meaning, so on the full moon day of January every people always bring the sweet soup, sweet rice, beautiful flowers, and pure fruit to the temple to worship Buddha, take apart in many merits work to pray the Buddhas, Boddhisattva, saints bless for the whole family a year of peace, happiness and prosperous.
The full moon festival in January is often called late Tet because the better-off families still continue to play the new year and enjoy apricot blossom, and late cherry blossom. People working apart from home stay through the full moon day of January to leave. The unfortunate people who were ill on the occasion of New Year, after their health return or many families whose loved one die on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, they were compensated for Tet on the full moon day of January
Secondly, in terms of culture, the full moon of January is the great ceremony according to Vietnamese beliefs. As an agricultural country, January is the starting month for farmers preparing to go to the fields. Before going to the field, they performed a ceremony to pay tribute to their ancestors, to pray for rain and wind harmony, expect a rich harvest year.
For Viet Nam and other rice-growing countries, there is a legend that the Luna New Year originates from farming in the folk. On the full moon day of January every year, the work of plowing and planting rice will begin, the farmers in all places urgently prepare for fieldwork, until the evening of the full moon of January, the farmers go to the fields gather dries the grasses and leaves, set fire to kill insects and bugs
The full moon night of January has become a traditional cultural activity of the Vietnamese people, imbued with civilization and human affection in both urban and rural areas, everywhere every people also hang lamps, make flowers, write poetry, recite poetry and criticizing poetry.
 Thirdly, there is also the opinion that the full moon day of January is Great Brahma's birthday, this is the occasion for everyone to come to the temple to pray for peace and luck. On the full moon day in January, many temples hold the ceremonies, recite, take a part in many merits, promoting the Buddha dharma, and dedication the merit of the beginning of the year to Buddhas, Bodhisattva in the ten directions to pray for peaceful, happy, and prosperous. But the biggest meaning is the day to pray Buddhas, Bodhisattva to bless for us all the karma elimination, a peaceful, happy, and successful year as expected.
That is talking about the full moon day of January in the human world, but about the religion, especially Buddhism. The full moon day of January, according to Buddhist tradition has two meanings:
1. A unique Congress of the Holy Monks
At the beginning of the second year after Buddha enlightenment. When the Blessed One was staying at the Bamboo Forest Monastery, in the Rājagaha City due to offered of Bimbisara king. At that time, 1250 holy bhikkhu disciples had been worshiping Buddha, right on the full moon day of the Magha month of India( ie the full moon day of January according to Viet Nam calendar). Those Bhikkhu Monks have attained Saint Arahant
The event of the Sangha conference is not an ordinary meeting but requires four conditions, especially during the time of doctrine dharma of Gotama Buddha, there was only a unique Sangha meeting:
-  Right on the full moon day of the month of Magha
- The bhikkhu self to come, no one invited
- They are all monks in the form of "Ehi Bhikkhu", ie these bhikkhus when hearing Buddha's call: Come here, you are the good Bhikkhu.
- All of these Monks are Arahant ranks attainted six magical power.  
On this occasion, the Buddha speak the Sutra of Liberation to the Bhikkhus. The content of Liberation Sutra condenses all the content of Dharmas which are the basic cultivation methods of life for the disciples to take as a guideline for practice in the propagation of Dharma.
The Buddha has clearly stated the missionary principle: Monks and Nuns live for the benefits of all being. The path of liberation, the path of enlightenment is the path of self-enlightened ones. And the renunciant their family who is on the path of liberation can not seduce, threaten, defame, or destroy others:
- Buddha often teach
Patience, ultimate asceticism
Nirvana, the ultimate fruit,
Monks do not destroy people
Bhikkhus do not destructive others
The whole content of Dharma that Buddha teaches can be summarized in three main points: Do not do bad karma, practice virtuous things, and keep purity the mind. These three principles have become the main principles of Buddhism and also the teachings of the three generations of Buddhas in the past, present, and future generation will have the same such principle: 
- Do not do all evils
Must achieving the blessings
Keep the mind clean
That is the words Buddhas taught
In particular, the Buddha emphasizes the ability to be patient in the cultivate life. The monk on the way to propagate the religion must learn to endure patience with all circumstances. Regardless of adversity, you must be persistent, not harboring hatred in the mind, strictly observing the precept, controlling the senses, abstinence in eating and drinking, living in solitude to practice meditation. Living with the mind toward the upper, good direction that is the basic method of the person who cultivates liberation.
- No defamation, vandalism
Maintain the basic precepts
Eat and drink in moderation
Bed, seats, pure house,
The mind is always in the upper direction, and in a good direction
It is the words of Buddhas that said so.
Going beyond the Buddha taught:
- What is the beautiful, what you have, and what stands out in order for a practitioner to liberate should yearn? Patience dharma is the most beautiful jewelry, is an indispensable condition for the development of good faith, is the jewelry of the wise person, is the beauty of the sage person, is the condition that leads to accomplishments in life. Patience is a wonderful way to resolve all disputes.
2- Promise to Demon King
When the Blessed One with the Bhikkhu from the City of Rajagaha traveled to the city of Vesali. One day, the Buddha with the Bhikkhu enter in the city of Vesali begging for alms, after he finished eating, the Buddha taught the venerable Ananda to dwell to the Capalacetiya Tower. After the Blessed One sat on the already reserved seat, Venerable Ananda bowed down with respect to the Blessed One and sat down aside. At that time the Blessed One taught that: 
This Ananda, who has often conducted four achievements dharma, has practiced maturity, has proceeded to become a solid foundation, with basic, has practiced into a daily routine, often diligent constantly conducting these four achievements
Hey Ananda, he has the ability to maintain a life span or more lifespan as expected.
This Ananda, Tathagata has often conducted four achievements dharma, has proceeded to become mature, has proceeded to become a solid foundation, with basic, has practiced into daily routine, often diligently Constantly conducting these four achievements.
Hey Ananda, Tathagata also has the ability to maintain a lifetime of life(100 years) or more life expectancy (more than 100 years). 
The Blessed One taught such indirectly because at that time the Reverend Ananda was harassed by the King of Devil, so he did not understand the Blessed One's meaning, because of reverend Ananda does not understand the meaning of the Blessed One, so he did not request the Blessed One to stay alive. Although the Blessed One taught so the second time, and the third time, Reverend Ananda still did not understand, so he stood up and prostrated the Blessed One three-times and then asked permission to go out and sit under the tree not far from the Blessed One.
When reverend Ananda had just gone out, the king of devil immediately went to the Blessed One to pay homage three times, then sat to one side and said.
- The Blessed One sir, you need to enter the annihilation, the Blessed One sir, this is a suitable time to enter nirvana.
In fact, the King of Evil repeatedly visited and repeatedly asked the Blessed One to enter Nirvana, the previous times the Blessed one refused. But this time, the Blessed One promised to the King of Evil that:
- Hey the King of Evil, rest assured, soon Tathagata will enter nirvana. After three months starting today, Tathagata will enter nirvana.
Thus, at the tower Capalacetiya, The blessed One has a wise intellect, determining the three more months that will discharge life expectancy, which is on the full moon day of India's Magha month, which is the Full moon of January. At that moment, the Earth shuddered and moved violently.
Reverend Ananda saw something extraordinary, the Earth shook, so he went to see the Blessed One and asked that:
Dear Blessed One sir! due to any earth-shaking cause?
The Blessed One taught:
- Hey Ananda, today, just now, Tathagata has the wise mind promised
 to the King of Evil that, only three more months, the Tathagata will enter nirvana. 
Hearing that, Reverend Ananda requested:
-  Blessed One sir, Please Blessed One stay for the rest of your life, Goodness stay for the rest of your life. For the sake of sentient beings, for the happiness of sentient beings, for the sake of compassion for life, for the sake of, and for the happiness of sentient beings of heaven and human.
The Blessed One taught that:
Hey Ananda, you should not invite Tathagata any more, now is not the time to appeal to Tathagata any more. Tathagata has indirectly taught you so many times but you still not understand, you have no request to Tathagata. Tathagata now already promised the king of Evil, Tathagata can not do differently. 
Reverend Ananda feel infinite sadness, regretting about own negligence, so His Holiness comforted reverend Ananda that:
- Hey Ananda, is it right from the beginning I have declared that every object favor, the body must be changed, return to the nothingness, and change?
Hey Ananda, what has arisen, exists, takes the form all is subject to vandalism but wishes to escape from the transformation, truly, there is no such situation.
Hey Ananda, what the Tathagata has given up, definitely, renounced, refuse, etc. Tathagata had said and said emphatically:
- Not so long, Tathagata will enter nirvana, after three months starting today, the Tathagata will enter nirvana. Saying that the Tathagata because want to live against the above statement, there is no such situation.
Then Tathagata said to the Bhikkhu:
Hey Bkikkhu, this is my message to you, the actions are impermanent. Be diligent in practicing yourself to be liberating, because not so far Tathagata will enter nirvana. After three months starting today, Tathagata will enter nirvana. That is what the Tathagata taught. After saying that, he added:
- Make yourself a physician for yourself
Be diligent, mindful, keep the precepts
Control willpower, self-protection
Who is diligent this dharma and law
Will kill samsara, end suffering. 
These are two very significant and important events in Buddhism on the full moon day of January. Therefore, on the full moon day of January, The temples hold a very solemn ceremony.
But with the Theravada Buddhism, the full moon day of January is held in various form such as:
- A festival to place bowls with Monks
- Ordination
- Refuge Ceremony
- Ascetic training ceremony
- Lamp offering ceremony
In order to help Buddhist Layman have the opportunity to sow good condition in the right dharma
Especially ascetic ceremony: Staying up one night without sleep to commemorate Buddha, a great man, with an extraordinary ideal, throughout his life devotedly sacrificing for the benefit of others. Usually, in the ascetic night, there are many repertoires for Buddhist Layman to participate in learning and practicing the Buddha's teachings. These items are usually listening to sermons, watching the relics of Buddha, walking in meditation,  question, and answer, discussing about the Buddhism, etc. Those who attend an ascetic night, through which they will certainly be aware of the basic teachings of Buddha and will firmly believe in the Three Jewels.
In short, although we celebrate the Full Moon Day of January 2020, when we recall the January fifteenth of the old year, the full moon day in January of the old year, 2564 years ago. We see a beautiful picture, under the bright moonlight, the Blessed One sits in the middle, surrounded by 1250 holy disciples, listening to the Blessed One's teachings, the voice of Dharma echoes profoundly.
Simple but profound words are received by pure people. Under the bright moonlight in the bamboo garden, the enlightened voice is spoken by the enlightened man to an enlightened assembly. The encounter between the disciples and the Buddha on the full moon of the old year was indeed an unprecedented encounter.
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