Buddhist Times News – 100 monks participate in robe offering event at Mahabodhi Mahavihara

100 monks participate in robe offering event at Mahabodhi Mahavihara

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                               <span class="date"><i class="icon-calendar"/> Dec 04, 2020</span>
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By  — Shyamal Sinha

Monks worship Lord Buddha under the Bodhi Tree at Mahabodhi Temple during Maha Kathina Civara Dana ceremony in…Read More

Nearly 100 monks, staying at monasteries of different countries, participated in the Maha Kathina Civara Dana (robe offering) function conducted by the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) at the Mahabodhi Mahavihara on Monday morning. This was the first event organized at the temple amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kathina is a Pali word referring to the wooden frame used to measure the length and width by which the robes of Buddhist monks are cut. As the legend goes, thirty bhikkhus were journeying with the intention of spending Vassa with Gautama Buddha. However, the rains began before they reached their destination and they had to stop at Saketa. According to Buddha’s guidelines for Vassa, mendicant monks shouldn’t travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops and/or insects during their journey. As such, the monks had to stop .
Earlier, around 500 monks from countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Sri Lanka used to attend the robe offering event, but no outsider was part of the function this year.

BTMC secretary Nangzey Dorjee welcomed the monks to the function that was also attended by committee members Mahashweta Maharathi and Krishna Manjhi.
Chief monk Bhikkhu Chalinda, who led the participants offering prayers under the Bodhi Tree, told this newspaper, “After the three-month ‘varsha vaas’ or rainy retreat of the monks, devotees offer them robes and other items. During the period from July to September, they stay indoors and meditate in their monasteries.”
According to Buddhism, offering robes (‘civara’) to the monks is the highest form of donation.
The chief monk added, “The ‘civara’ is offered to one of the 10 monks of the BTMC every year. It was given to Bhante Manoj this year because he followed the ‘varsha vaas’ tradition properly.”

There is an equally strong Buddhist belief that a month after receiving his ‘enlightenment’, Buddha delivered his first sermon – called the Dhamma-Cakkappavattana Sutta – to his five former companions on the full moon day of Ashadh at Sarnath and that he spent the first four-month Vassa at Mulagandhakuti. The Sinhalese Buddhists still practise Vas or ‘rains retreat’ though their calendar is adjusted to their monsoons, while the Thais call the period from July to October as Phansa and observe it rather religiously. Other Theravada Buddhists like the Burmese also observe Vassa, and Mahayana Buddhists like the Vietnamese Thiens and the Korean Seons fix themselves to one location, just as the Tibetans are supposed to.

After the Maha Kathina Civara Dana function, the monks were offered ‘sanghdana’ (meal).

The four months of ShravanaBhadrapadaAshvina and Kartika could even be trimmed to three months depending on the regional character of the rains and local needs.

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