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Buddhist Lent began today at my temple

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

Today was the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Activities began at the temple at 10 a.m., with a sermon (all in Thai, of course) by a visiting monk, followed by chanting, the blessing of food offerings, 11:30 lunch for the monks and lay people (I prepared sweet and sour shrimp), followed by more "prayers", chanting, and sermonizing, and concluding with circumnabulation of the primary Buddha statue (which is outside in a courtyard). Fortunately, Ajahn Yut has sort of adopted us non-Thai speakers, watches out for us that we are fully included in all activities, and explains many aspects of ceremonies to us. A great day. In olden times, Buddhist lent began to encourage monks not to travel so that they would not trample on new rice plantings. Nowadays, in Thailand, they can out from the temple during the day time, but must return to their home temple for sleep.



  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    Is it actually called Buddhist Lent or is that just what it is similar to?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    In Pali it is transliterated as "Vassa". By Westerners it is often called the Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent, but that's not really accurate. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good short article about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vassa

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ...It pre-dates the Christian version by at least 5 centuries.

    ...And it's twice as long.

    I'll say this for dem Theravadans - dey don't do tings by half!!

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It does go to show how deeply embedded Christianity has been in the western mind, that the words "Buddhist lent" mean more to most people than "rains retreat".

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited July 2017

    'Rains Retreat' here in the UK is so commonplace, we think it means either indoors or under a brolly....

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    You should see "Rains Retreat" in Ireland @federica . We are Zen Masters at it. !
    Having said that the weather has been uncharacteristically good these last few months. Plenty sunshine!

  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    @Hozan I think we got all of your rain in Northern Michigan, USA. Can we please send some to you? It's very soggy here.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Must be global warming @ajhayes . !! Its definitely been warmer and hotter here than usual. Annual rainfall in Ireland is still pretty high over the whole year.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, in fairness, Britain is also enjoying wonderfully-seasonal warm weather. It's very welcome... although there is grey cloud currently building up, and it seems we may be in for a good ol' fashioned thunderstorm. Love 'em!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @ajhayes northern Mn has been sending the rain your way, via us and Canada. My in-laws in ND have been without rain most of the summer and now have grassfire problems with temps in the 90s and no relief in sight. But we had 8 inches of rain in June (more than twice as much as normal) and it's rained almost every day in July so far, too. Sunny this morning, so headed out to read on the deck!

    @vinlyn that is interesting about Buddhist Lent/Vassa. I've never even heard of it! And never heard the term Rains Retreat, either!

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Quite a few years ago I heard of vassa linked to tudong. When one had spent 5 vassa periods in his home monastery he could go on tudong. Which is wandering to other temples. Ajahn Sumedo spoke about his first tudong. He arrived at a temple where other monks told him he was doing everything wrong. He described his reaction which included a great deal of anger. What a wonderfully honest man as well as monk.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Just keep your rain away from Australia. We've had more than our share and I really want to see the Swans beat the Giants this weekend :awesome:

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