Senior monks at Wat Bowonniwet stream their Dharma teachings online.

Visakha Bucha spirituality streamed online

It’s the day that marks Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing, supposed to be the largest public gathering of Buddhist followers who come to observe the event and make merits, including triple clockwise circumambulation or Vien Tien. (A triple walk around a Buddhist stupa with a candle and flowers)

But under the full moon of the sixth month of the Thai traditional year, temple grounds nationwide on Visakha Bucha Day were almost empty, being filled only with the chanting of monks.

As the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand decided in March to follow public health instructions that bans public gatherings to protect Thai citizens from COVID-19, Buddhist rituals and events have been suspended, including those during the most important Buddhist Day.

Despite the epidemic, the religious faiths continued as the monks managed to stream their chants and teachings to followers online.

It’s unprecedented, just like other livelihoods that are now adjusting to the “New Normal” way of living, and no body can tell whether the faiths will become weakened or have lost strength to the virus. But as the old saying says, faiths are indeed in spirituality, after all.

Senior monks perform Buddhist rituals in the temple at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, where the Supreme Patriarch resides. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
Some followers are allowed to attend the Dharma chanting in a distance with social distancing enforced. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
Junior monks attend the chanting.(Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
General public are not allowed to observe the event with Vien Tien ritual so they observe the monks’ rituals outside. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
Vien Tien is performed only among the monks with social distancing practised along. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
A monk in a mask during Vien Tien ritual. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)
The monks perform Vien Tien at the temple alone this year. (Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong)