Posts Tagged ‘retreat season’

The special ceremony of Galkema Rajamaha viharaya

November 7, 2008

On 5th of November was a special day for our village temple.  The ceremony of offering of “Katina” robes to the monks was held on that day at our village temple.
In our country, the months of July to October are a time of retreat for monks. On Essala poya day devotees invite the monks of their village temple to retreat by giving a sheaf of betel. This is the time the monks spend their time in meditation.
In the past, the people lived with religious thoughts through out the season.
Katina robes are offered only once a year. It is a great opportunity for all Buddhists. “The Galkema Rajamamaha Viharaya” held its Katina ceremony in a big way. On the previous day a special flower pooja was held in the evening. The next day the “Katina robes pooja” was held. In the morning an alms giving was held and after the end of this merit, the afternoon almsgiving was held.
For a hermitage to observe the “retreat season” it has to be supported by its devotees. During “Vas season” devotees provide for monks by giving alms and supplying their needs. Very often, within these three months, devotees divide the days and offer lots of things. These alms are called “retreat alms”. Within this period many poojas were held by devotees.
At the end of these three months, pirith chants and alms givings are held by all Buddhists.
The day the “robes of katina” are offered is celebrated in a special way in all temples. Every Buddhist engages in this great occasion. Giving Katina robes is one of the eight great merits that are mentioned in Buddhism.
At dawn a group of devotees go around the village allowing the villagers to touch the “Katina” robes. It is believed that this is a great merit for us. Afterwards the robes are bought to the temple by a special perahera (procession). The robes are brought to the temple before sun rise and given to a special monk of the temple called an “Upasampada” after holding special ceremonies.