Presiding over the ceremony were Governor Maitri Inthusut, Ms Pawinee Punnakun, director-general of the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as Phuket Vice Governor Dr Sommai Prichasil.
Yesterday was Asalha Bucha Day, one of three major Buddhist holidays celebrated in Thailand, which falls on the full moon of the 8th Thai lunar month, marking when the Buddha Gautama gave his first formal sermon to his first five disciples about the Dharma Wheel in Motion, which contained the “Four Noble Truths” – that there is suffering; suffering derives from desire; desire and thus suffering can be eliminated and there is a clear path to do so.
The auspicious sermon that ignited the Buddha Gautama's following is believed to have happened two months after the denounced prince was enlightened, in 502 B.C.
On the three major Buddhist holidays in Thailand (Makha Bucha and Visakha Bucha being the other two), worshipers head to the temple to make merit and 'wien thien' (literally 'encircle candle') in a procession around the main shrine hall three times at moonlight with candles and joss sticks.
The number three symbolizes the Buddhist “Triple Gem” – the Buddha, his disciples (Sangha) and his teachings (Dharma).