Buddhists around the world celebrated the beginning of the three-month rainy season (Vassavasa) on 13 July.
The three-month rainy season for monks and nuns begins the day after the full moon of the eighth lunar month, and is one of the most important celebrations in the Theravada Buddhist calendar. The recession continues until the full moon of the 11th lunar month, which this year drops on the 9th of October.
According to Buddhist tradition, on this day the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, famously gave his first teaching on Sarnath after attaining enlightenment. The Buddha gave his first discourse on the Middle Way to five ascetics, former companions during his search for wisdom, who became his first disciples.
“This is a day to commemorate the first sermon preached by the Buddha after he woke up,” said Dr. Stephen C. Berkwitz, head of the department of religious studies at Missouri State University. “Because of that, it is also called Dharma Day, the day of the Buddha’s teaching. It certainly has special resonance in the exposition of what the Buddha discovered and then taught to his followers. This is a significant day in the Buddhist calendar. ” (Women’s Day)
During the rainy season, monastics remain inside their monasteries and temple grounds, devoting their time to meditation and study. During the Indian rainy season, living outdoors is traditionally difficult and possibly dangerous, so in the past groups of monks would form temporary communities over time. It also means they can avoid accidental damage to crops, insects, and other creatures that come out and thrive during the rainy season.
While all monks and nuns are expected to observe the receding rain, the dispensation of up to seven days may be given under certain circumstances, such as attending sangha business, giving Dhamma instruction, or visiting to a sick relative.
In the present day, the practice of rain-retreat is not limited to the monastic sangha; lay Buddhists observing the weather are also found in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and elsewhere. During the rainy season, lay followers practice strict observance of certain vows and eight rules, engaging in activities such as giving alms to monastic, quitting smoking and intoxicants, training in meditation, Buddhist singing. suttasand listening to the revelations of the Dhamma.
The end of the rains retreat is marked by the Pavarana ceremony, where members of the monastic have the opportunity to remind each other for any wrongdoing during the retreat. This is followed by the Kathina or robe-offering festival, which will continue next month.
The rainy season and the Pavarana are the most important religious festivals in Thailand. Both are national holidays, where the sale of alcoholic beverages is illegal. So the bars and entertainment areas are closed.
History of rain recession (dmc.tv)
Religious holidays bring two days of alcohol ban (The Phuket News)
Everything you need to know about the Buddhist Holiday Asalha Puja and what it celebrates (Women’s Day)
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