Special days this month

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Thought I'd add the following as an explanation of the 2 special days on 26th and 27th of this month. October 26th - Pavarana DayThis is the official end of the Rains retreat for monks. For 3 months each year the monks stay in one temple or designated area without leaving over night other than for very special reasons, including to visit sick relatives or monks, help a monk who is in danger of disrobing, or to teach laypeople Dhamma. Even then, they only leave for a maximum of 7 days. This custom predates Buddhism, and the story goes that the laypeople complained to the Buddha that his monks were trampling their newly planted crops, prompting him to call for the monks to observe the Rains retreat period as other Samana did at the time. The time is often used in programs of Buddhist study for new monks, as many come to ordain for the period, or for Vinaya study.This year the Lunar calendar has the end of the Rains (called ‘Pansa’ in Thai, or Vassa in Pali) on the 26th October, and the next morning the monks are officially free of the travel restrictions The day is called “Pavarana Day”, and Pavarana means ‘to invite’. In this instance it means to invite ones fellow monks and nuns to admonish oneself. After everyone is done admonishing each other forgiveness is given, thus one can say that Pavarana day is ‘forgiveness day’. The next morning many monks leave the temple to visit family or move to a new residence.(full blog http://littlebang.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/pavarana-day/ )27th Tak Baat Tae-woThis festival is called the ‘Tak Baht Thaewo’ and is essentially an auspicious pindapada, almsround. It is in commemoration of the end of the Buddha’s 7th Rains retreat when he came down from the Tavatimsa heaven. The story goes that he had been teaching Abhidhamma (philosophical explanation of how mind and matter work) to his mother who I am sure you know, passed away 7 days after the Buddha’s birth. He descended from that heavenly relm via a triple staircase of Silver, Gold, and Emerald - and you can see an image of this behind the main Buddha statue in most temples.During the Rains retreat the Buddha had come back to this world, leaving a replica of himself teaching the Devas in heaven, each day and gave a summary of the teaching to Sariputta. Apparently only Devas have the capacity to understand Abhidhamma, but Sariputta insisted that the world of men have access to the summaries. The Abhidhamma in fact is larger than the Suttas and Vinaya sections of the Tipitaka. Most scholars consider the Abhidhamma to be the work of later scholars who rearranged the teaching into, essentially, a big set of lists. It is still Buddha-Dhamma, but rearranged.The Buddha descended from the heaven just in time to lead a procession of 100 arahant monks out on almsround about the town.Anyhow, the ceremony on the 27th, the day after exiting the official Rains period, is in memory of this event, and lay people take food to offer the monks as they circumambulate the central chapel of each temple. One variation is the Tak Baat Phra Roy (100 monks almsround) festival which started in Pathom Thani, where the monks go almsround by boat. I can't figure out how ti insert images, but there are a couple of small ones on the blog : http://littlebang.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/tak-baat-thewo/ www.littlebang.wordpress.com

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Angie-447194 1193064549

There are a lot of special days in Thailand and I'm always wondering what they are really about. As a non Thai speaker it's not always easy to get an explanation, so it was good to read your posting. I'll have a look at the link as well.


mw-447280 1193144290

Is it correct that virtually all Thai men will become a Buddhist monk at some time in their lives?


Sarathi 1193145548

Most men ordain as a monk for anything from a few days to a few months, usually after finishing studying. It is considered auspicious, and a rite of passage. Also they learn the basics of Buddhism, and some methods of self control, renunciation and meditation. Don't discount the women - most Thai women go on metiation retreats at temples too at some time.


JD-447224 1193249356

My wife went to stay at the temple for three days when she was in her early 20's. She said it was a good time in her life, the only problem being she had to shave off all her hair!


Jam-447339 1193500499

Uhm, I'm not sure I'd like to do that?!


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