The Full Moon of Waso, the Dhammacakkapavattana Day falls on 19th July, 2016. The Full Moon of Waso associates with the four great noble and significant events related to the precious life of the Omniscient Gotama Buddha. On that holy day, the Buddha-to-be (the Gotama Buddha) took pregnancy in the womb of Queen Maya, wife of his Majesty King Suddhodana of Kapilavatthu Kingdom, and also on that holy day at the age of 29, the Buddha-to-be renounced the world, and after having full attainment of the Buddhadood, the Gotama Buddha preached His first great sermon, Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta to His five disciples, in which He explained the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, on the Full Moon of Waso. All five disciples received ordination and formed the first nucleus of the holy brotherhood of disciples known as the Sangha.
And also, on the Full Moon of Waso, the Omniscient Buddha performed the great miracle called the Twin Miracle. The reason for this was to dispel the wrong views of heretics and to prove that He possessed the attributes of a Buddha. It is the miracle of water and fire.
The Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta Day
Over 2560 years ago, the unrivalled Omniscient Buddha preached His first great Sermon, the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta to His five disciples (Kondanna and other four) in the Deer park, now known as Saranath, India, on the Full Moon of Waso. In commemoration of this significant and holy event associated with the precious life of the Buddha, the Buddhist peoples across the Buddhist world celebrate the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta Day on this Full Moon of Waso by observing precepts delivered by members of the Sangha and respectfully listening to the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta recited by members of the Sangha.
And also, the generous Buddhist peoples perform meritorious deeds such as offering Waso robes, alms and other offertories to the members of Sangha on the Full Moon of Waso, the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta Day.
Observing the rains-retreat period; confining oneself to a specific monastic dwelling for the three-month rainy period.
During the three months of monsoon rains, Bhikhus go into retreat at a monastery designated before hand at the start of the rainy season. This practice was introduced during the life time of the Buddha. Before the Buddha decreed the rains-retreat period, Bhikhus walked across fields under cultivation. People started to criticize them as some people believed that plants and even drops of water were living beings. Why is it that the disciples of the Buddha go on travels all the year round and trample young plants and insects into oblivion while even members of other sects do not go on journeys during the rains? Even birds and animals have the good sense to stay in their nets or dens during the rains, people complained. To put an end to this controversy, the Buddha decreed that the rains-retreat period be observed. Rains-retreat period may be observed by taking up the designated residence during one of the two periods: –
(1) Earlier rains-retreat period (purimavassavasa), commencing from the day after the Full Moon of Waso (roughly corresponding to July) and ending on the Full Moon of Thadingyut (roughly) corresponding to October):
(2) Later rains-retreat period (pacchimavassavasa), commencing from the day after the Full Moon of Tazaungmon (roughly corresponding to November).