Tomorrow is Pavāranā Day
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.
The uposatha observance regularly provides an opportunity for bhikkhus to accuse their fellows of any offenses that the latter may have committed without making amends. However, there are many factors that might dissuade a bhikkhu from taking advantage of these regular meetings to make such an accusation. The recitation of the Pāṭimokkha may be so time-consuming that he is reluctant to prolong the meeting. During the months outside of the Rains the composition of the Community may be so variable from week to week that he is uncertain of their ability or willingness to judge the issue fairly, and they themselves may be in a poor position to judge the reliability of the accused and his accuser. During the months of the Rains-residence, however, when the Community is more stable, his reluctance to break his Rains may prevent him from bringing up the issue if he senses that the person he wants to accuse, or the accused's cohorts, are likely to retaliate. This being the case, he might feel tempted to put his personal convenience and comfort ahead of the Vinaya, and the accusation would never get a hearing.
For this reason, the Buddha allowed that, once a year at the end of the Rains-residence, bhikkhus who have observed the Rains without break may replace one uposatha observance with an Invitation (pavāraṇā), at which each gives the opportunity to his fellows to accuse him of any offense that they may have seen, heard, or suspected him of committing. If the Invitation proceeds without accusation, the bhikkhus are then free to go their separate ways, each with a clean reputation. If there is an accusation, this is the time to settle it once and for all.
The meeting at which this invitation is given is an ideal time to settle such issues. Because the Pāṭimokkha is not being recited — and because there are provisions for shortening the Invitation procedure in the event of a long, drawn-out discussion — there is more time to consider an accusation. Because the participating bhikkhus, for the most part, have lived together for three months, they are in a good position to assess the character both of the accuser and the accused. Because the Rains-residence ends the following morning, the accuser has less reason to fear retaliation from the accused, as he is under no compulsion to remain with the Community.
In addition, the rules surrounding the Invitation encourage an atmosphere in which accusations may be heard. On the one hand, with every participant expected to invite accusations, anyone who refuses to give leave for an accusation looks like he has something to hide. On the other hand, if a bhikkhu suspects one of his fellows of having committed an offense but does not at least bring up the issue in the Invitation meeting, he incurs an offense if he tries to bring it up at a later date. In this way, both sides are given incentives to put the Vinaya ahead of their own immediate convenience and comfort. As the Buddha said when making the original allowance for the Invitation, its purpose is to promote mutual conformity among the bhikkhus, to help them rise out of their offenses, and to foster their esteem for the Vinaya.
The bhikkhus should invite one another, in line with seniority:"Friends [venerable sirs], I invite you. With regard to what is seen, heard, or suspected, may you speak to me out of sympathy. On seeing (the offense) I will make amends. A second time... A third time, friends [venerable sirs], I invite you... On seeing (the offense) I will make amends."
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.htmFor the mythological history see:
The Buddha goes to spend the rains retreat in the Tavatimsa heaven in order to teach his motherhttp://www.budsir.org/E_hist63.htm
On the Great Invitation (pavarana) day, the Buddha descends from Tavatimsa heaven via stairways of jewels, gold and silverhttp://www.budsir.org/E_hist64.htm
The Buddha opens all the worlds, enabling the devas, hell beings and humans to see each otherhttp://www.budsir.org/E_hist65.htm