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Buddha had advised the monks
not to travel during the vassana rainy
season ( in northern India ). Instead they
should spend the time at one place. The lay
people would then take care of their needs.
In return, the monks would spend time
guiding them on the spiritual path.
This tradition is still being practised
today by the Theravada monks.
Since Buddha's time, this ritual had been practised during rainy seasons.
It is an ancient ritual started by our Grand Master, Namo Goutama Buddha
to allow monks to stay indoors without going around to collect alms in
rainy weather. As such devotees supported the monks with foods and
requisites at a sheltered location provided by devotees. After the rainy
season ended, the ceremony to offer robes to the Maha Sangha were held.
For more than 2,550 years, this tradition continues, particularly by the
Theravada (Southern)Buddhist monks. It is the highest level of blessings
to offer robe and requisites to the Maha Sangha during this period.
Witnessing such ceremony bring good blessings from the Buddha's orders,
aschanting and observing of Eight Precepts are usually held concurrently.
Buddhists in northeast Thailand celebrate the end of
the annual Buddhist rainy season retreat ( vassana )
by having various activities in the temples and shrines
in the belief that the accrued merit enables them to
personnaly determine their future rebirth.
Kathina ( Robe Offering) Ceremony