Kathina

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Kathina

Postby Dhammanucara » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:03 pm

At this time around the year, Kathina ceremony would commonly be held in most Theravadin temples all over the world. While the reason to honor this festival is very clearly stated, that, it is to make offering for the monks who have cultivated earnestly throughout the 3 months of Vassa (some of which even manage to gain the final fruition), and this is considered as a very meritorious deed. I'm not sure how the Kathina ceremony goes: some temples have it by having only the cloth is offered to the monks and the monks do the dying and sewing and giving it to the most needy ones or most senior monks. However, in other temples as I observed, every devotee has a chance to offer kathina robes to the monks and usually this results in super-excessive robes for every individual monk, even though the monk may not need it at all. While I think this act may still considered a dana or generosity for the devotee, how would the excessive robes be dealt? How would such excess be still considered to a certain extent meritorious?
Some choose to argue that instead of performing kathina to the monks, it is better to donate to the needy ones. I may agree to that notion, but not completely, because I still believe that donating to a worthy one - a monk who has devoted to intense cultivation or even an arahant - is still going to generate more merits because of their virtues, but I could not possibly agree that it is a little bit more practical to donate to the needy ones. How would you resolve such tension, if you perceive it to be?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Kathina

Postby Zom » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:19 pm

By the way, when does Rain Season end?
What date?
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Re: Kathina

Postby santa100 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:42 pm

The 2 kinds of donations don't have to be mutually exclusive. It's just a matter of allocating the resource proportionately. Monks don't need much: some robes, food, some medicine, and place of dwelling. So set aside some of your available resource for the monks (giving them just enough is actually helping them observing the precepts) and then donate the rest of the amount to the sicks and the poors..
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Re: Kathina

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:03 pm

Zom wrote:By the way, when does Rain Season end?
What date?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... a2011.html
October 12 Pavāraṇā Day
Pavarana Day (usually in October).
This day marks the end of the Rains retreat (vassa). In the following month, the kathina ceremony is held, during which the laity gather to make formal offerings of robe cloth and other requisites to the Sangha.


Dhammanucara, I think you're over thinking things. For a Wat like ours (a Thai Wat in the west) the "robe" part of the ceremony is somewhat symbolic. But it is important that we have enough support to, for example, pay the mortgage (taken out by the Trust that owns the property).

We had our Kathina ceremony here two weeks ago, and next week we go to a "branch" in another city for another ceremony.

This sutta is worth reading:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
AN 9.20 Velāma Sutta
[giving to people of various levels...]
"If one were to feed a community of monks headed by the Buddha, that would be more fruitful than... if one were to feed a Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened.

This, and other suttas, make it clear that it is better to support the Sangha in general, without discrimination, than to worry about whether one is giving to the "most worthy" monk.

:anjali:
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Re: Kathina

Postby chownah » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:18 am

I live in a rural village in northern Thailand.....we celebrate Kathina with a festival which finishes up today. Monks robes are donated and there is surely in general a surplus of robes given to monks around here because they attend every funeral and robes are presented to monks then too....I don't know what is done with surplus robes.....many of my family members are at my house now getting ready to go to the temple and none of them know what is done with the surplus robes and it is not an important issue for them and they seem to think it is a bit strange to even think about that and dismiss the topic with friendly laughter. Here only monks can wear monk's robes so the surplus could not benefit poor people but here the temple is the social center and heart of the community and there are clothes for laypeople there and anyone in need can go and get clothes or pretty much anything else that they require....soap, toothbrushes, etc.,,,,and of course they can receive meals their too and I believe that sometimes staple foods are available to be taken home and prepared there......so basically the temple provides requisites for those lay people who are in need. Our village is a tight knit community and everyone pretty much is related to alot of other people and everyone knows everyone else and what everyone is doing so no one abuses what is freely given at the temple since if one did this it would be known by everyone....this makes the system easy to manage.
Robes are given but that is a small part of what is given....groups of neighbors all through the village make "kathina trees" which to westerners look a bit like christmas trees....a central trunk about one and a half meters tall is made from reeds tied together and then covered with decorative paper and ribbons.....bamboo skewers about 40 cm long are sharp on one end and split part ways at the other end.....paper money of various denominations are held in place in the split end and the sharp end is stuck into the reed trunk....so you end up with a decorative trunk and branches of bamboo skewers sticking out all around with each one having a leaf made from a bill of money......sometimes people fold the money into floral shapes or bird shapes and they can be quite decorative. People make these trees with their neighbors at their homes and then walk in procession carrying the tree in front with everyone walking behind playing music and singing and dancing and drinking....basically celebrating in festival fashion as they make their way to the temple.....they are placed on rows of tables just outside the main temple buidling as a display during the evening when the festival proper is happening (last night) where they have music and dancing and lots of food and some fireworks....it is quite a sight to see about 40 of such trees all covered with money.....before the evening is over the trees will be taken into the temple building where they will spend the night and today the monks will come and do some formalities including blessing the trees etc....and then the money will be counted....this money will be administered by temples administrative board made up of representatives from the community and our monk (we only have one resident monk.....monks from nearby temples come to make up the "quorum" needed for the various formal activities). Our wat is in the middle of building a new main temple building so monetary donations are considerable.....when less money is need, less is given, in a small community like here if more money is needed then people know and those who are fortunate donate.

If there are questions about how Kathina is done here I will be glad to try to find the answers.
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Re: Kathina

Postby Dhammanucara » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:59 am

Perhaps it is better for me to clarify because I just realized that I used the wrong words. What I had in mind is "community of monks"/Sangha rather than the worthy monk. Hence, to rephrase the dilemma above which was brought to my attention by our weekly Dhamma meeting here: some people could not agree about the act of giving the kathina robes because they see that as creating over-excessive robes for the monks and instead thought that they (as in those people, not the monks) should give what is needed to the needy ones. While for other excessive materials such as food that are donated to the monks can be dispensed away to the needy ones (which is a common practice among many temples as I know), robes are only for the monks. Besides that, they argue, monks do not really need so many robes, why not everyone in the community chip in to contribute the right amount of robes for all the monks in a particular wat or temple? As they reasoned, if there are about 300 devotees participating in the kathina, there will be about 300 robes donated in that temple already. And finally, they posed the question on how the 'excessive' robes were dealt.

chownah: thanks for your explanation. It seemed that the temple that you participated had almost the same kathina ceremonial procedures that I had attended here in the States, a Thai-Laotian temple to be exact. And yeah, i did ask before to the laity (not the monks, since they were busy on such occasion) on how the 'excessive' robes were dealt, and many just shrugged that question off, emphasizing instead that giving the robe is already a meritorious deed and one should not bother too much asking about how the excessive robes are dealt with. While I agree with their explanation, I find it hard to explain to some of our members in our weekly Dharma meeting with that answer.

Thanks~!

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Kathina

Postby Dhammanucara » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:01 am

Zom wrote:By the way, when does Rain Season end?
What date?



I'm not sure, but I guess that every community of monks had somewhat similar or close dates to the end of Vassa (Rain Season) and it should be around this time, end of October till mid-November.

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Kathina

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:11 am

Hi Dhammanucara,

I guess you are in a similar community to our Thai Wat here. I think in our case there is usually one Royal Kathina robe (from the Thai monarchy) given to one particular monk. There were other robes being given as well, and robes are often part of other ceremonies but my impression is that most of the time these just get recycled from stock that has already been accumulated.... I.e. if I wanted to make a donation, and have it look nice by including a robe, we'd just get a robe that was already here, present it, and it would go back in the closet... Just a symbolic gesture. Same with candles, and some of the other symbolic stuff...

Not sure if that helps your issue or not...

:anjali:
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Re: Kathina

Postby Dhammanucara » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dhammanucara,

I guess you are in a similar community to our Thai Wat here. I think in our case there is usually one Royal Kathina robe (from the Thai monarchy) given to one particular monk. There were other robes being given as well, and robes are often part of other ceremonies but my impression is that most of the time these just get recycled from stock that has already been accumulated.... I.e. if I wanted to make a donation, and have it look nice by including a robe, we'd just get a robe that was already here, present it, and it would go back in the closet... Just a symbolic gesture. Same with candles, and some of the other symbolic stuff...

Not sure if that helps your issue or not...

:anjali:
Mike

Thanks Mike!

I was contrasting this situation with the practices of some temples in Malaysia that literally charged each devotee the price of one full robe for them to donate a robe to the community of monks during kathina. I'm not very positive that the robes are recycled from stock because the wrapping and packaging of the robes differ each year (or maybe some people in the temple deliberately do that to give the impression that it is new?). Since Malaysia is not a Buddhist monarchical country, it differs from Thai tradition in that it has one royal kathina robe presented from the Thai monarchy, but still, this "royal kathina robe" is present but sponsored by the main sponsor of the kathina ceremony.
I just find it interesting to observe such differences, and at the same time observing the issue of "excessive" robes raised by some of my friends.

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Kathina

Postby alan » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:09 am

Or maybe we could just drop this stupid idea that giving to monks gains merit to the giver.
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Re: Kathina

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:22 am

It would certainly be very beneficial to drop all stupid ideas, and learn to give with wise attention, with one's mind firmly focussed on the relinquishment of attachment, not on the idea of acquiring some material gains in future existences. We advise people to reflect “Idaṃ me nibbānassa paccaya hotu — may this meritorious deed be a condition for the realisation of nibbāna.”
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Re: Kathina

Postby gavesako » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:28 pm

Description of Lao-Isan customs:

In the eleventh lunar month, the end of the Buddhist Vassa (ອອກວັດສາ ຫລື ອອກພິນສາ ຫລື ປະວາລະນາ) includes many important ceremonies: the torch lighting (lantern) ceremony; floating of the lit boats; boat racing to celebrate the Naga Kings' well-being; offering wax castles; offering monks' blankets, and beginning the Kathin ceremony.
Maha Sila Viravongs states that this ritual does not concern lay people. Later, Lao people adopted some Brahman rituals and included them into this ritual. In Brahmanism, the people would make floats and lanterns to worship Brahma, Vissanu, and Siva from the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month until the first waxing moon of the first lunar month. After that they would float all the floats and lanterns in the river for cleansing off their sins and misfortunes. Later, Lao people adopted all activities, changing the original purpose of the ritual to the worshipping of the Buddha and to thank the river goddess for providing water for human consumption. In Thailand, people include one more activity in this ritual; Devo Rohana offering food to monks, and listening to the Devo Rohana sermon.10

In the twelfth lunar month, Bun Kathin (ບຸນກະຖຶນ--offering of new monks' robes and other necessities) includes the following activities: offering new monks' robes, making wax castles, offering monks' robes in a symbolic forest; offering winter blankets to monks; and preparing popped new rice for monks. Besides bun kathin, Lao people also hold the worship of the Buddha's relics during this time. It was believed that after the Buddha's nirvana, his disciples took pilgrimage to various places in Asian to distribute the Buddha's relics in various temples. Each temple would build a stupa to contain the relics. In the twelfth Lunar month, people would hold a celebration to pay respects to the Buddha.

In the twelfth lunar month, people in Thailand include one more activity called the float festival or Loy Kathong Festival (ລອຍກະທງ--the floating of banana leaf floats with lit candles inside them in the river) in the twelfth lunar month.

http://www.seasite.niu.edu/lao/LaoFolkL ... 7_text.htm



For the mythological history see:

The Buddha goes to spend the rains retreat in the Tavatimsa heaven in order to teach his mother

http://www.budsir.org/E_hist63.htm

On the Great Invitation (pavarana) day, the Buddha descends from Tavatimsa heaven via stairways of jewels, gold and silver

http://www.budsir.org/E_hist64.htm

The Buddha opens all the worlds, enabling the devas, hell beings and humans to see each other

http://www.budsir.org/E_hist65.htm

:candle:

Kathina (กฐิน)

In the first month after the end of the rains (Vassa) retreat a ceremony is performed by all the bhikkhus or bhikkhunis who spent the rains retreat together in one residence. This Kathina Ceremony involves receiving cloth, dying it, sewing it, and making it into a robe within one day. Before the day is out the Sangha gives that robe to one of its members. After this Kathina Ceremony has been performed the Sangha of that monastery receives five privileges. The five kathina privileges are:

1. Being able to go to a lay persons house without asking permission (Pac.No.85).

2. Being able to travel without taking all three robes robes (Nis.Pac.No.2).

3. Being able to take part in a group meal (Pac.No.32)

4. Being able to keep extra cloth without determining or sharing it (Nis.Pac.No.1)

5. Being entitled to a share of any cloth offered to the Sangha of the residence, during the period of

kathina privileges.

The kathina privileges can last up to five months after the end of the rains retreat if the bhikkhu or

bhikkhuni does not leave that residence to live in another residence and if the Sangha does not

revoke the privileges.

Kathina cloth is a bhikkhu's or bhikkhuni's share of cloth which has been offered to the Sangha of

a residence as in privilege number five above. Once a robe has been made from that cloth by a

bhikkhu or bhikkhuni it is said that `the kathina cloth has been finished.' (Nis.Pac.No.1)


Kāle dadanti sapaññā

Vadaññū vīta-maccharā

Kālena dinnaṃ ariyesu

Uju-bhūtesu tādisu

Vippasanna-manā tassa

Vipulā hoti dakkhiṇā

Ye tattha anumodanti

Veyyāvaccaṃ karonti vā

Na tena dakkhiṇā onā

Tepi puññassa bhāgino

Tasmā dade appaṭivāna-citto

Yattha dinnaṃ mahapphalaṃ

Puññāni para-lokasmiṃ

Patiṭṭhā honti pāṇinanti.



Those with discernment,

responsive, free from stinginess,

give in the proper season.

Having given in the proper season

With hearts inspired by the Noble Ones

— straightened, Such —

Their offering bears an abundance.

Those who rejoice in that gift,

or give assistance,

They too have a share of the merit,

and the offering is not depleted by that.

Therefore, with an unhesitant mind,

one should give where the gift bears great fruit.

Merit is what establishes

living beings in the next life.


See also http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/lif ... athina.htm

For more detail see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch17.html


Interesting article by a Thai monk suggesting to move the Vassa to winter time in north America:
http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/III/K ... remony.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Kathina

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:11 pm

Thank you Bhante!

with metta
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Re: Kathina

Postby gavesako » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:55 pm

"Wafted in on a breeze" - Flying Kathina Robe

Ten Navy officers Sunday parachuted from a helicopter flying about 5,000-ft above ground, in a flying Kathin ceremony.
The Kathin ceremony, the annual merit making to mark the end of Buddhist Lent, took place in Muang district, Narathiwat and drew a large number of spectators.
In the one-month-long ceremony, lay Buddhists bring donations to temples, especially new robes for monks.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nationa ... 18617.html

:shock:
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