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Vassana and Kathina in the Theravada Tradition

Thero (Religious Advisor, Bodhiraja Buddhist Society)
-By Ven Omalpe Sobhita

From the full-moon day in July to October, monks in the Theravada tradition observe the Rainy Retreat or Vassana. This practice was laid down by the Buddha and details can be found in the Mahavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka (3rd and 4th chapters).

The rainy retreat was instituted to prevent monks from wandering about and damaging crops and small creatures which are out in abundance during the rainy season.

During these three months, monks are expected to reside in one place and not venture out unnecessarily. They should also not spend the night away from their monasteries. Under special circumstances, if a monk has to be away from the monastery, he must take a vow to return within seven days.

The retreat is a time for monks to devote themselves to study Dhamma and meditation. For the devotees, it is also an opportunity to learn the Dhamma from the monks who are stationed in one place. Hence, it can be considered a good time for spiritual development.

At the end of the Vassana season, the monks perform the pavarana (termination) of the additional precepts observed during the retreat.

Following this, until the next full-moon day, the Katina ceremony is held. This practice started after the rainy retreat, when the Buddha was staying at Savatthi, some monks got drenched by heavy downpour.

Seeing this after the completion of the Vassana season the Buddha instructed the Katina ceremony. Different monasteries hold the Katina on different days. During the Katina ceremony, devotees offer robes to the Maha Sangha or community of monks. Each monk who observes the retreat is presented with one or more robes.

Traditionally, the villagers get together and offer a piece of cloth to the Sangha. The cloth is then cut and stitched into robes by a selected group of monks.

The meaning of the Pali word �Katina� is strong.

The offring of Dana to the Maha Sangha during the Vassana season and the offering of robes is regarded as a meritorious deed.

It is said that those involved in the offering of robes will gain merits for numerous rebirths in samsara and will be protected from the cruel elements and poisonous animals.

In addition, they will see the coming of the next Buddha and His enlightenment.

Hence, lay people are encouraged to take part in this significant occasion. Despite the changes through the years, the Vassana and Katina tradition are faithfully observed in Theravada temples throughout the world.

In Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka and Burma, and other Theravada Buddhist temples throughout the world, it is the most important event on the calendar.

The offering of Dana (meals) to the Sangha, making robes and Preaching of the Dhamma.

It is a tradition that brings together the monks and lay people during this Katina Season.


Kelani Vihara

By S. R. Aldeniya

Bright morning sun rays fall on glittering
Tender Bo-leaves flutter to the wind
Bell tower the latest is prominent among others
The magnificent pandol stands on elevated

*** *** ***

Everyone with a blue lotus in hand
Clad in white clothes climb the steps
Whole area filled with Sadu the religious sound
One feels haven not far when offering flowers
The sedentary Buddha statue with fine back

*** *** ***

How prince and princess �Danta�
brought Tooth Relics
Religious events in colour adorn the walls
None will vacate this place in few hours.

*** *** ***

Worldly sufferings forget at sight
of �Dagaba� pinnacle
Pure white clad devotees
with reverence seated around
On full moon days this scene never fails
It seems cotton white clouds descended on

*** *** ***

Bone of Contention was a gem studded chair
By merely appearing on the scene of massacre
The Buddha stopped the war on coveted
With the chair deposited �Dagaba�
peace adorned for ever.

*** *** ***

Peace never comes through relentless hatred
so wild
Hatred breeds hatred in a chain of events
The �Buddha�s teaching never fail on human

*** *** ***

It proves its values in intractable disputes.
An ancient Bo-tree helped Buddha to become
A descendent with spreading branches covers
It helps suffering human beings in super form
Thousands of devotees worship around
golden fences.

*** *** ***

As the last stage of Kelaniya Pilgrimage
People having red and blue garland, with
Patiently awaits at the �Vibhishana� god�s image.
For future prosperity with all its blessings.

*** *** ***

Over the hills she flows at own sweet will
When she saw the dazzling brilliance of
She changed her cause and bids farewell
O� beautiful river queen may you worship

*** *** ***

All sins of life-time hard and trivial
Will vanish for ever if worship Kelaniya once
This is belief of masses without fail
On Poya days thousands, struggle for offering

ඇසළ අමාවක පෝය

ඇසළ අමාවක පෝය ජූලි 31 වැනිදා බ්‍රහස්පතින්දා අපර භාග 6.22 ට ලබයි.
අගෝස්තු 1 වන දා සිකුªරාදා අපර භාග 3.43 දක්වා පෝය පවතී.
සිල් සමාදන්වීම ජූලි 31 වනදා බ්‍රහස්පතින්දාය.

මීළඟ පෝය අගෝස්තු 8 වන සිකුරාදාය.

පොහෝ දින දර්ශනය

New Moonඅමාවක

ජූලි 31

First Quarterපුර අටවක

අගෝස්තු 08

Full Moonපසෙලාස්වක

අගෝස්තු 16

Second Quarterඅව අටවක

අගෝස්තු 24

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