What is Kathina?

Every year around the month of October, Kathina ceremony will appear among most of the Buddhist community. And this is the first time I read through the history of Kathina.

According to Buddha’s guidelines for Vassa, monks shouldn’t travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops and insects during their journey. As such, the monks had to stop for Vassa. Vassa, is three month retreat that still practicing by the Theravada monks until now.

During Vassa, The bhikkhus passed their time together and practicing Dhamma. On the end of Vassa, the Buddha given the monks by demonstrating a way to practice sharing and generosity by providing task of action.

A lay disciple had previously donated pieces of cloth to the Buddha, so the Buddha now gave the pieces to the group of monks and told them to make it into a robe and then offer it as a gift to one of them. A frame, called a Kathina, was used to hold the pieces while they were being made into one robe.

Today, I attended a ceremony in Sati vihara that following the tradition way, the group of monks from Sri Lanka accept the piece of cloth before sunrise and continue the sewing the ceremony with this piece of white cloth.

After sewing done, then dye the robe with the natural ingredient that included barks, root and leaves of the trees to make this robe saffron color. After the whole ceremony, the robe will offer to one of the sangha.

All natural ingredient from the tree that included barks, roots and leaves.
The monks dried up the robe after dye.

Kathina has been held in Malaysia since 2009, across many temples due to a recent emergence of the Theravada tradition from Thailand in the North and Sri Lanka in the South has started the tradition of the observance of Vassa across Buddhist temples in Malaysia. (Source from wikipedia) But but but, Theravada exist in Malaysia since decades, I will try to write more about the Malaysian Buddhism.

Vassa is observed starting on the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and the choice of the date of the Kathina celebration, as well as the end of Vassa observance for each respective temple can range from the first day of the ninth lunar month to the fifteenth day of the tenth lunar month.

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