Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Month of Vassa

Vassa, also known as the Rains Retreat, is the three-month annual retreat observed by Theravada practitioners. Taking place during the rainy season, Vassa lasts for three lunar months, usually from July to October.
For the duration of Vassa, Bhikkhus remain inside monasteries and temple grounds. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the Vassa to intensive meditation. Some Buddhist lay people choose to observe Vassa by adopting more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking. Commonly, the number of years a monk has spent in monastic life is expressed by counting the number of vassas he has observed.
Vassa begins on the first day of the waning moon of the eight lunar month,which is the day after Asalha Day or Asalha Uposatha (Dhamma day). It ends on Pavarana day, when all monastics come before the community of monks (the Sangha) and atone for an offense he may have committed during the Vassa.
Vassa is followed by Kathina, a festival in which the laity expresses gratitude to monks. Lay Buddhists bring donations to temples, especially new robes for the monks.
You are cordially invited to the various activities organised during the Vassa months. Please watch this space for more information.

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