Buddhist Lent

The Buddhist Lent, which start on the first day of the waning moon of the eight lunar month. The tradition of Buddhist Lent or the annual three-month Rains Retreat known in Thai as “Phansa” dates back to the time of early Buddhism in ancient India, all holy men mendicants and sages spent three months of the annual rainy season in permanent dwellings. They avoided unnecessary travel during the period when crops were still new for fear they might accidentally step on young plants. In deference to popular opinion, Lord Buddha decreed that his followers should also abide by this ancient tradition, and thus began to gather in-groups of simple dwellings. The day means the day on which the Buddhist monks take the vow to stay only at one particular place or temples which can shelter them from the sun, storms and rain. For Buddhist and its followers the Buddhist Lent has the following important characteristics : 1. Buddhist monks who have been travelling from place to place have to take up shelter in a particular place, according to Lord Buddha’s discipline. 2. Buddhist monks who stay at a particular place for a length of time shall teach the young boys who wish to be ordained in order to study the Buddhist Doctrine, and preach to the lay followers. 3. During the Buddhist Lent lay follows retrain from bad action in particular drinking alcohol, taking drugs or leading an inappropriate life. 4. During the Buddhist Lent, the laymen acquire merit, observe five or eight precepts, listen to sermon and sit in meditation in temples. Buddhist Lent covers a good part of the rainy season and lasts three lunar months. In Thailand, Buddhist monks resolve to stay in a temple of their choice and will not take an abode in an other temple until the Lent is over. The celebration of the beginning of Buddhist Lent is marked by the ceremony of presenting candles to the monks. Various institution e.g. school and universities, including public and private organization will organize a colorful candle procession leading to a temple where the offering of the candles will be made. Some Buddhist followers consider the beginning of Buddhist Lent as a time for making resolution such as refraining from smoking or observing five precepts (Panjasila) throughout the three-month Rains retreat. On Buddhist Lent Day, Buddhist worshippers go to the temple, offer food and others necessities to the monks, and attend a 3-round candle procession around the Buddhist temples. They behave according to the rules of Buddhist Commandments, pray and meditate, especially on this Buddhist Day of Worship.

                                 

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