Friday, July 27, 2012


A S A L H A    P U J A 

August 2, 2012

Sometimes called "Dhamma Day," Asalha Puja commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha. This is the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, meaning the sermon of the Buddha on setting the Wheel of Dhamma in motion. In this sermon, the Buddha explained his doctrine of the Four Noble Truths.

V A S S A 

August 3, 2012

Vassa, the Rains Retreat, begins the day after Asalha Puja. 

Rains Retreat, is the traditional retreat during the rainy season lasting for three lunar months. It usually begins on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month (usually in July) and ends on the full moon of the eleventh month (usually October). 

For this year (2012), the vassa begins on August due to the leap year, where there is extra one lunar month on the calendar. 

During this time Buddhist monks remain in a single place, generally in their temples. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the vassa to intensive meditation practice. During vassa, Buddhist laypeople participate by bringing food and other necessities to the monks. Some of them reinvigorate their spiritual training and adopt more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking (vassa is sometimes known as "Buddhist Lent"). And in countries such as Thailand, the laity will often take monastic vows for the vassa period and then return to lay life. Commonly, the number of years a monk has spent in monastic life is expressed by counting up the number of vassas he has observed.

P A V A R A N A 

October 30, 2012

Vassa concludes with the pavarana ceremony, in which every monk, irrespective of rank or seniority, agrees willingly to receive instruction from any other monk in the monastery if he has acted improperly.



October 31 — November 28, 2012 

Kathina is a Buddhist festival which comes at the end of vassa. A monastery may choose any convenient day within this one lunar month time period to celebrate this festival. It is a time of giving, for the laity to express gratitude to monks. Lay Buddhists bring donations or requisites to temples, especially new robes for the monks.