Kathina Ceremony

May all donors, departed ones, all beings.
Be always well, happy and at peace
We share our merits with all beings.
May we be able to attain Nibbāna in the near furture
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!

Kathina is a Theravada Buddhist festival where robes called matho thingan (မသိုးသင်္ကန်း) are offered to the Buddhist sangha, between the first waning day of Thadingyut (သီတင်းကျွတ်, approximately October) and the full moon day of Tazaungmon (တန်ဆောင်မုန်း, approximately November) in the traditional Burmese calendar. This is approximately from early July through late of October in the Gregorian calendar.

Kahtein trees called badaytha bin (ပဒေသာပင်), on which offerings like money are hung, are also offered.

Kathina – How it started?

At the time of the Buddha when Buddhism was starting off , there were few monks and nuns. These monks normally did not stay in fixed places or temples but rather spent most of their time moving from one place to another as it was their mission to spread the teachings of the Buddha for the happiness and welfare of all people and living beings.
In those days, there were no paved roads, so during the rainy season when the country experienced heavy and frequent rainfall, their travels were often impeded and interrupted. In this season, the farmers also cultivated their land and planted new crops.
Because travel was inconvenient, The Buddha allowed his disciples to stop wandering and take up temporary abodes during the rainy season.
In Pali, this season is called vassa, meaning the “Rains Retreat” and it extends for three lunar months.

Kathina – The Story

About four or five years after attaining Enlightenment, the Buddha was dwelling at Jetavana Mahã Vihãra near Sãvatthi City , the capital of the Kosala kingdom ruled by King Pasenadi.

According to the scriptures, a group of thirty monks were journeying together with the intention of spending the Vassa period with the Lord Buddha. However, Vassa began before they reached their destination and they had to stop, to keep to the guidelines for Vassa which was that mendicant monks shouldn’t travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops and/or insects during their journey.

When they arrived the Buddha greeted them, asked them about their retreat and journey, and noticed their wet and torn robes. The lady disciple of the Buddha, Visakha Mahã Upãsikã was also there visiting and listening to the Buddha expounds the Dhamma. When she saw the monks in tattered and worn robes, she asked permission of the Buddha to offer new robes to the monks, and the Buddha granted her request. Since then the Buddha granted the monks the opportunity to search for robes in various places and even to accept robes offered by donors during the period of one month from the middle of the Eleventh Lunar Month to the middle of the Twelfth Lunar Month. This period is called Kathina.

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