Sunday, July 9, 2017
RAINS RETREAT (VASSA) BEGINS
The Vassa, a three-month rains retreat, was instituted by the Buddha himself and was made obligatory for all fully ordained bhikkhus; the details are laid down in the Mahavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka (3rd and 4th chapters). The retreat extends over a period corresponding to the North Indian rainy season, from the day following the full moon of July until the full-moon day of October. During the Vassa the monks are expected to dwell permanently in their temples and suspend all traveling.
In some monasteries, monks dedicate the Vassa to intensive meditation. Some Buddhist lay people choose to observe Vassa by adopting more ascetic practices.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
END OF RAINS RETREAT (VASSA)
Sunday, October 8, 2017
THE ROYAL KATHINA CEREMONY
The kathina is a ceremony in which donors present cloth and other requisites to the monks who have spent the Rains Retreat together without break. As it may be held only between the full moon dates in October and November, and only once a year in any given monastery, it is considered a very special opportunity for donors to join in and develop the virtue of generosity together.
In the time of the Buddha, the last month of the rainy season (October/November) was the time when monks would prepare their requisites for the upcoming eight-month period when they could wander and meditate freely in the forest. In particular, this was the time when they would patch their old robes or sew new ones if the old ones were beyond repair. Lay supporters thus took the opportunity to provide the monks with cloth at this time, and the Buddha established the custom of the kathina, in which donors would present cloth to a community of monks as a whole. The monks would then make the cloth into a robe within that day and present it to one of their members whose robes were old and worn, or who was deserving in any other way.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
NEW YEAR’S EVE – CHANTING OF METTA
A special evening chanting to welcome the new year. It starts after the daily evening chants, usually around 8 p.m.