The Uposatha (Sanskrit: Upavasatha) is a Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha's time (600 BCE), and still being kept today in Buddhist countries. The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind," resulting in inner calm and joy. On this day, both lay and ordained members of the sangha intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity. On these days, the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or (as the tradition suggests) the eight precepts. It is a day for practicing the Buddha's teachings and meditation.
Depending on the culture and time period, uposatha days have been observed from two to six days each lunar month.
In general, Uposatha is observed about once a week in Theravada countries in accordance with the four lunar phases: the new moon, the full moon, and the two quarter moons in between. In some communities, such as in Sri Lanka, only the new moon and full moon are observed as uposatha days.
In Burmese Buddhism, Uposatha (called ဥပုသ်နေ့ ubot nei) is observed by more pious Buddhists on the following days: waxing moon (လဆန်း la hsan), full moon (လပြည့်နေ့ la pyei nei), waning moon (လဆုတ် la hsote), and new moon (လကွယ်နေ့ la kwe nei). The most common days of observance are the full moon and the new moon. In precolonial Burma, Uposatha was a legal holiday that was observed primarily in urban areas, where secular activities like business transactions came to a halt. However, since colonial rule, Sunday has replaced Uposatha as the legal day of rest. All major Burmese Buddhist holidays occur on Uposathas, namely Thingyan, the beginning of Vassa (beginning in the full moon of Waso, around July, to the full moon of Thadingyut, around October). During this period, Uposatha is more commonly observed by Buddhists than during the rest of the year. During Uposatha days, Buddhist monks at each monastery assemble and recite the patimokkha, a concise compilation of the Vinaya.
In Mahayana countries that use the Chinese calendar, the Uposatha days are observed ten times a month, on the 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and final three days of each lunar month. Alternatively, one can only observe Uposatha days six times a month; on the 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd and final two days of each lunar month. In Japan, these six days are known as the roku sainichi (六斎日 Six Days of Fasting).
|Buss (បុស្ស)||Duruthu||Pusaya (ปุศยะ)||30|
|Meak (មាឃ)||Navam||Makha (มาฆะ)||29|
|Phalkun (ផល្គុន)||Medin (Maedhin)||Pholkuni (ผลคุณี)||30|
|Chaet (ចេត្រ)||Bak||Chittra (จิตรา)||29|
|Pisak (ពិសាខ)||Vesak||Visakha (วิสาขา)||30|
|Ches (ជេស្ឋ)||Poson||Chetta (เชษฐา)||29/30|
|Asath (អាសាឍ)||Esala (Aesala)||Asarnha (อาสาฬหะ)||30|
|Srap (ស្រាពណ៍)||Nikini||Savana (สาวนะ)||29|
|Phuttrobot (ភទ្របទ)||Binara||Phattarapratha (ภัทรปทา)||30|
|Assoch (អស្សុជ)||Vap||Assavani (อัศวนี)||29|
|Katdeuk (កត្តិក)||Il||Krittika (กฤติกา)||30|
|Meukesae (មិគសិរ)||Unduvap||Maruekasira (มฤคศิระ)||29|
In the Buddha's time, some ascetics used the new and full moon as opportunities to present their teachings. The Uposatha Day was instituted by the Buddha at the request of King Bimbisara, and the Buddha instructed the monks to give teachings to the laypeople on this day, and told the monks to recite the Patimokkha every second Uposatha day.
On each uposatha day, devout Upāsaka and Upāsikā practice the Eight Precepts, perhaps echoing the Buddha's teaching that laypeople should "imitate" arhats on Uposatha days. The first five of the eight precepts are similar to the five precepts, that is, to refrain from killing living beings, stealing, wrong speech and to abstain from intoxicating drink or drugs, but the third precept is abstinence of all sexual activity instead of refraining from sexual offenses. The eight precepts are similar to the ten precepts observed by novice monks, except that the seventh and eighth precepts for the novices are combined, the ninth novice precept becomes the eighth, and the tenth novice precept (non-acceptance of gold and silver, use of money) is excluded as being impracticable for a lay person. Thus, the final three precepts are to abstain from eating at the wrong time (after midday); to abstain from entertainment such as dancing, singing, music, watching shows, as well as to abstain from wearing garlands, perfumes, cosmetics, and personal adornments; and to abstain from luxurious seats and beds.
For lay practitioners who live near a Buddhist temple, the uposatha is an opportunity for them to visit it, make offerings, listen to sermons by monks and participate in meditation sessions. For lay practitioners unable to participate in the events of a local monastery, the uposatha is a time to intensify one's own meditation and Dhamma practice, for instance, meditating an extra session or for a longer time, reading or chanting special Buddhist texts, recollecting or giving in some special way.
The eight precepts are meant to give lay people an impression of what it means to live as a monastic, and the precepts "may function as the thin end of a wedge for attracting some to monastic life." The objective of the eight precepts is different from the five in that they are less moral in nature, but more focused on developing meditative concentration, and preventing distractions. Among the eight precepts, the third precept is about maintaining chastity. Buddhist tradition therefore requires lay people to be chaste on observance days, which is similar to the historical Indian tradition of being chaste on parvan days. As for the sixth rule, this means not having food after midday, in imitation of a nearly identical rule for monks. Fluids are allowed. Taiwanese physician Ming-Jun Hung and his co-authors have analyzed early and medieval Chinese Buddhist Texts and argue that the main purposes of the half-day fast is to lessen desire, improve fitness and strength, and decrease sleepiness. Historically, Chinese Buddhists have interpreted the eight precepts as including vegetarianism.
The seventh precept is sometimes also interpreted to mean not wearing colorful clothes, which has led to a tradition for people to wear plain white when observing the eight precepts. This does not necessarily mean, however, that a Buddhist devotee dressed in white is observing the eight precepts all the time. As for the eighth precept, not sitting or sleeping on luxurious seats or beds, this usually comes down to sleeping on a mat on the floor. Though not specified in the precepts themselves, in Thailand and China, people observing the precepts usually stay in the temple overnight. This is to prevent temptations at home which break the eight precepts, and helps foster the community effort in upholding the precepts.
On the new-moon and full-moon uposatha, in monasteries where there are four or more bhikkhus, the local Sangha will recite the Patimokkha. Before the recitation starts, the monks will confess any violations of the disciplinary rules to another monk or to the Sangha. Depending on the speed of the Patimokkha chanter (one of the monks), the recitation may take from 30 minutes to over an hour. Depending on the monastery, lay people may or may not be allowed to attend.
Describing his experience of Uposatha day in Thailand, Khantipalo (1982a) writes:
Early in the morning lay people give almsfood to the bhikkhus who may be walking on almsround, invited to a layman's house, or the lay people may take the food to the monastery. Usually lay people do not eat before serving their food to the bhikkhus and they may eat only once that day.... Before the meal the laity request the Eight Precepts [from the bhikkhus] ..., which they promise to undertake for a day and night. It is usual for lay people to go to the local monastery and to spend all day and night there.... [In monasteries where] there is more study, [lay people] will hear as many as three or four discourses on Dhamma delivered by senior bhikkhus and they will have books to read and perhaps classes on Abhidhamma to attend.... In a meditation monastery ..., most of their time will be spent mindfully employed – walking and seated meditation with some time given to helping the bhikkhus with their daily duties. So the whole of this day and night (and enthusiastic lay people restrict their sleep) is given over to Dhamma.
Anniversary of the assembling of 1250 monks in the Buddha's presence during which time he delivered the "Ovada-Patimokkha Gatha."
In Tibet and Bhutan, there are four full moon Uposatha days that are of importance
In China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam there are certain full moon Uposatha days of importance.
|Lay Theravada Buddhist Practices ()|
The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.
The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.Buddhist devotion
Devotion, a central practice in Buddhism, refers to commitment to religious observances or to an object or person, and may be translated with Sanskrit or Pāli terms like saddhā, gārava or pūjā. Central to Buddhist devotion is the practice of buddhānussati, the recollection of the inspiring qualities of the Buddha. Although buddhānussati had been an important aspect of practice since the early period of Buddhism, its importance was amplified with the arising of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Specifically, with Pure Land Buddhism, many forms of devotion were developed to recollect and connect with the celestial Buddhas, especially Amitābha.
Most Buddhists use ritual in pursuit of their spiritual aspirations. Common devotional practices are receiving a blessing, making merit, making a resolution, prostrating, making offerings, chanting traditional texts and pilgrimage. Moreover, many types of visualizations, recollections and mantras are used in Buddhist meditation in different traditions to devote oneself to a Buddha or a teacher. The often politically motivated practice of self-immolation is a less common aspect of devotion in some Buddhist communities.
Buddhist devotional practices can be performed at home or in a temple, in which images of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and enlightened disciples are located. Buddhist devotion is practiced more intensively on the uposatha observation days and on yearly festivals, which are different depending on region and tradition.Buddhist holidays
This is a list of holidays celebrated within the Buddhist tradition.
Vesak: Buddha's birthday is known as Vesak and is one of the major festivals of the year. It is celebrated on the first full moon day in May, or the fourth lunar month which usually occurs in May or during a lunar leap year, June. In some countries this has become an occasion to not only celebrate the birth but also the enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha.
Parinirvana Day: also known as Nirvana Day, a Mahayana Buddhist holiday celebrated in East Asia, usually on February 15.
Magha Puja: Magha Puja is an important religious festival celebrated by Buddhists in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos on the full moon day of the third lunar month (this usually falls in February or March)
Buddha's Birthday: Also known as "Hanamatsuri" it is celebrated April 8 and in Japan baby Buddha figurines are ceremonially washed with tea.
Asalha Puja Day: Also known as "Dharma Day" celebrates the Buddha's first teaching on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month, approximately July.
Uposatha: This day is known as observance day, there are four holy days on the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days every month.
Kathina Ceremony: This robe offering ceremony, is held on any date within the end of the Vassa Retreat. New robes and other requisites can be offered by the laity to the monks.
Abhidhamma Day: According to Burmese tradition, this day celebrates when the Buddha went to the Tushita Heaven to teach his mother the Abhidhamma. It is celebrated on the full moon of the seventh month the Burmese lunar year which starts in April.
Loy Krathong: When the rivers and canals are full of water, this festival takes place in all parts of Thailand on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. Bowls made with leaves, candles, and incense sticks, are in the water, and represent bad luck disappearing.
Madhu Purnima: It occurs on the day of the full moon in Bhadro (August/September). The day commemorates an occasion on which the Buddha retreated to the wilderness of Parileyya forest to bring peace between two quarrelling factions of disciples.
The Ploughing Festival: During the half moon in May, two oxen pull a plough painted gold. Following behind them are girls dressed in white scattering rice seeds. This was to celebrate the Buddha's first moment of enlightenment.
The Elephant Festival: The Buddha used an example of a wild elephant which is harnessed to a tame one to be trained. He said that a person who is new to Buddhism should have a special relationship with an older Buddhist. This festival takes place on the third Saturday in November.
The Festival of the Tooth: In Sri Lanka there is a temple that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. It can't be seen, but once a year there is a procession for it on the full moon in August.
Hungry Ghost Festival: "Ancestor Day" or "Ulambana" is celebrated from the first to the fifteenth days of the eighth lunar month. This is the day when the monastics complete their Rains Retreat. It was considered that many monastics would have made progress during their retreat and therefore become a greater field of merit. Lay devotees make offerings on behalf of their ancestors and dedicate the merit towards those suffering in the preta realm to relieve their suffering.
Avalokitesvara's Birthday: This festival celebrates the Bodhisattva ideal. On the full moon day in March It represents the perfection of compassion in Mahayana traditions of Tibet and China.
Bodhi Day: The holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment.Buddhist pilgrimage sites
The most important places of pilgrimage in Buddhism are located in the Gangetic plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal, in the area between New Delhi and Rajgir. This is the area where Gautama Buddha lived and taught, and the main sites connected to his life are now important places of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. However, many countries that are or were predominantly Buddhist have shrines and places which can be visited as a pilgrimage.Dodanthale Raja Maha Vihara
Dodanthale Raja Maha Vihara (also known as Sri Seneviratne Uposatha Raja Maha Vihara) is an historic Buddhist temple situated in Mawanella, Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. The temple is located about 4 km (2.5 mi) away from the Mawanella town. The temple has been formally recognised by the Government as an archaeological site in Sri Lanka. The designation was declared on 10 November 1978 under the government Gazette number 10.Eight precepts
In Buddhism, the eight precepts (Sanskrit: aṣṭāṇga-śīla or aṣṭā-sīla, Pali: aṭṭhaṅga-sīla or aṭṭha-sīla) is a list of precepts that are observed by lay devotees on observance days and festivals. They include general precepts such as refraining from killing, but also more specific ones, such as abstaining from cosmetics. Probably based on pre-Buddhist sāmaṇa practices, the eight precepts are often upheld on the Buddhist observance days (Sanskrit: upavasatha, poṣadha, pauṣadha, Pali: uposatha, posaha), and in such context called the uposatha vows or one-day precepts. They are considered to support meditation practice, and are often observed when staying in monasteries and temples. In some periods and places, such as in 7th–10th-century China, the precepts were widely observed. In modern times, there have been revival movements and important political figures that have observed them continuously.Householder (Buddhism)
In English translations of Buddhist texts, householder denotes a variety of terms. Most broadly, it refers to any layperson, and most narrowly, to a wealthy and prestigious familial patriarch. In contemporary Buddhist communities, householder is often used synonymously with laity, or non-monastics.
The Buddhist notion of householder is often contrasted with that of wandering ascetics (Pali: Pāḷi: samaṇa; Sanskrit: śramaṇa) and monastics (bhikkhu and bhikkhuni), who would not live (for extended periods) in a normal house and who would pursue freedom from attachments to houses and families.
Upāsakas and upāsikās, also called śrāvakas and śrāvikās - are householders and other laypersons who take refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the teachings and the community) and practice the Five Precepts. In southeast Asian communities, lay disciples also give alms to monks on their daily rounds and observe weekly uposatha days. In Buddhist thought, the cultivation of ethical conduct and dāna or "almsgiving" will themselves refine consciousness to such a level that rebirth in one of the lower heavens is likely even if there is no further "Noble" Buddhist practice (connected with the Supramundane goal of Nibbana, "Unbinding"). This level of attainment is viewed as a proper aim for laypersons.In some traditional Buddhist societies, such as in Myanmar and Thailand, people transition between householder and monk and back to householder with regularity and celebration as in the practice of shinbyu among the Bamar people. One of the evolving features of Buddhism in the West is the increasing dissolution of the traditional distinction between monastics and laity.
For all the diversity of Buddhist practices in the West, general trends in the recent transformations of Buddhist practice ... can be identified. These include an erosion of the distinction between professional and lay Buddhists; a decentralization of doctrinal authority; a diminished role for Buddhist monastics; an increasing spirit of egalitarianism; greater leadership roles for women; greater social activism; and, in many cases, an increasing emphasis on the psychological, as opposed to the purely religious, nature of practice.Khandhaka
Khandhaka is the second book of the Theravadin Vinaya Pitaka and includes the following two volumes:
Mahāvagga: includes accounts of Gautama Buddha's and the ten principal disciples' awakenings, as well as rules for uposatha days and monastic ordination.
Cullavagga: includes accounts of the First and Second Buddhist councils and the establishment of the community of bhikkhunis, as well as rules for addressing offenses within the sangha (monastic community).Kyaung
A kyaung (Burmese: ဘုန်းကြီးကျောင်း [pʰóʊɴdʑí tɕáʊɴ]) is a monastery (vihara), comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of Buddhist monks. Burmese kyaungs are sometimes also occupied by novice monks (samanera), lay attendants (kappiya), nuns, and young acolytes observing the five precepts (ဖိုးသူတော် phothudaw). Kyaungs are typically built of wood, meaning that few historical monasteries built before the 1800s are extant. Kyaungs exist in Myanmar (Burma), as well as in neighboring countries with Theravada Buddhist communities, including neighboring China (e.g., Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture).
The kyaung has traditionally been the center of village life in Burma, serving as both the educational institution for children and a community center, especially for merit-making activities such as construction of buildings, offering of food to monks and celebration of Buddhist festivals, and observance of uposatha.
Monasteries are not established by members of the sangha, but by laypersons who donate land or money to support the establishment.Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE-CE 25), it had become a festival with great significance. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí; Jyutping: caai1 dang1 mai4).In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune.The festival acts as an Uposatha day on the Chinese calendar.It should not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival; which is sometimes also known as the "Lantern Festival" in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. The Lantern Festival has also become popular in Western countries, especially in cities with a large Chinese community. In London, the Magical Lantern Festival is held annually.Lovamahapaya
Lovamahapaya is a building situated between Ruwanweliseya and Sri Mahabodiya in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya because the roof was covered with bronze tiles.
In ancient times, the building included the refectory and the uposathagara (Uposatha house). There was also a Simamalake where the Sangha assembled on Poya days to recite the sutra of the confessional. The famous Lohaprasada built by King Dutugemunu, described as an edifice of nine stories, was a building of this class. One side of the building was 400 ft (120 m) in length. There are 40 rows, each row consisting of 40 stone pillars, for a total of 1600 pillars. It is believed that it took six years for the construction of the building and the plan was brought from the heavens. The building was completely destroyed during the reign of King Saddhatissa.Whilst the Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagiriya and Ruwanwelisaya were taller structures, the Lovamahapaya remained the tallest building of the island for over a millennium between 155BC and 993AD. The small building displayed now is a recent construction and is the Venue of Uposatha (chapter house) of the Maha Vihara even now.Offering (Buddhism)
In Buddhism, symbolic offerings are made to the Triple Gem, giving rise to contemplative gratitude and inspiration. Typical material offerings involve simple objects such as a lit candle or oil lamp, burning incense, flowers, food, fruit, water or drinks.Within the traditional Buddhist framework of karma and rebirth, offerings lead to the accumulation of merit, which leads to:
a better rebirth in the cycle of birth and death (Pali: vattagamini-kusala)
progress towards release from suffering (Pali: vivattagamini-kusala).These offerings often act as preparation for meditation.Pagoda festival
Pagoda festivals (Burmese: ဘုရားပွဲ; paya pwe) are regular festivals found throughout Burma (Myanmar) that commemorate major events in pagoda's history, including the founding of a pagoda and the crowning of the pagoda's hti (umbrella). Pagoda festivals are dictated by the Burmese religious calendar and often are held several days at a time. Major events in a pagoda festival typically do not coincide with Uposatha (Buddhist Sabbath) days, during which devout Buddhists observe the Eight Precepts. The majority of pagoda festivals are held during the dry season, from the months of Tazaungmon (November) to Tabaung (March).More well-known pagoda festivals often attract pilgrims from throughout the country.
Pagoda festivals are similar in nature to agricultural shows (country fairs) or carnivals, and form a significant important part of cultural life, particularly in the countryside. During pagoda festivals, temporary bazaars (including food stalls and merchandise stands), entertainment venues (including anyeint dramas, yoke the performances, lethwei matches, and arcades) are set up in the vicinity of the pagoda.Poya
Poya is the name given to the Lunar monthly Buddhist holiday of Uposatha in Sri Lanka, where it is a civil and bank holiday.
Full moon day is normally considered as the poya day in every month.Prostration (Buddhism)
A prostration (Pali: panipāta, Skt.: namas-kara, Ch.: li-pai, Jp.: raihai) is a gesture used in Buddhist practice to show reverence to the Triple Gem (comprising the Buddha, his teachings, and the spiritual community) and other objects of veneration.
Among Buddhists prostration is believed to be beneficial for practitioners for several reasons, including:
an experience of giving or veneration
an act to purify defilements, especially conceit
a preparatory act for meditation
an act that accumulates merit (see karma)In contemporary Western Buddhism, some teachers use prostrations as a practice unto itself, while other teachers relegate prostrations to customary liturgical ritual, ancillary to meditation.Samanera
A sāmaṇera (Pali); Sanskrit śrāmaṇera, is a novice male monastic in a Buddhist context. A female novice is a śrāmaṇerī or śrāmaṇerikā (Sanskrit; Pāli: sāmaṇerī).Ubosot
An ubosot (Thai: อุโบสถ, pronounced [ʔùʔ.boː.sòt]), phra ubosot (Thai: พระอุโบสถ, pronounced [pʰráʔ.ʔùʔ.boː.sòt]) or, for short, bot (Thai: โบสถ์, pronounced [bòːt]) is a building in a Buddhist wat. It is the holiest prayer room, also called the "ordination hall" as it is where ordinations take place.
The term ubosot, shortened to bot in Thai colloquial speech, is derived from the Pali term uposathagara, which refers to a hall used for rituals on the uposatha days -- the Buddhist Sabbath, which falls four times a month on the full moon, new moon, and eighth day after each.An ubosot stands within a boundary formed by eight boundary stones (Thai: ใบเสมา) which separate the sacred from the profane, and thus differs from a wihan (วิหาร). The sema stones stand above and mark the luk nimit (Thai: ลูกนิมิต), stone spheres buried at the cardinal points of the compass delineating the sacred area. A ninth stone sphere, usually bigger, is buried below the main Buddha image of the ubosot. The entrance side of most ubosots face east. Both ubosots and viharns typically house Buddha images. Across from the entrance door at the end of the interior is the ubosot's largest Buddha statue which is usually depicted in either the meditation attitude or the Maravijaya attitude.Upāsaka and Upāsikā
Upāsaka (masculine) or Upāsikā (feminine) are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism (or, historically, of Gautama Buddha) who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, and who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety that is best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower".Vassa
The Vassa (Pali: vassa-, Sanskrit: varṣa-, both "rain") is the three-month annual retreat observed by Theravada practitioners. Taking place during the wet season, Vassa lasts for three lunar months, usually from July (the Burmese month of Waso, ဝါဆို) to October (the Burmese month of Thadingyut သီတင်းကျွတ်).In English, Vassa is often glossed as Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent, the latter by analogy to the Christian Lent (which Vassa predates by at least five centuries).
For the duration of Vassa, monastics remain in one place, typically a monastery or temple grounds. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the Vassa to intensive meditation. Some Buddhist lay people choose to observe Vassa by adopting more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking. While Vassa is sometimes casually called "Buddhist Lent", others object to this terminology. Commonly, the number of years a monk has spent in monastic life is expressed by counting the number of vassas (or rains) since ordination.
Most Mahayana Buddhists do not observe Vassa, though Vietnamese Thiền and Korean Seon monastics observe an equivalent retreat of three months of intensive practice in one location, a practice also observed in Tibetan Buddhism.
Vassa begins on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month, which is the day after Asalha Puja or Asalha Uposatha ("Dhamma day"). It ends on Pavarana, when all monastics come before the sangha and atone for any offense that might have been committed during Vassa.
Vassa is followed by Kathina, a festival in which the laity expresses gratitude to monks. Lay Buddhists bring donations to temples, especially new robes for the monks.The Vassa tradition predates the time of Gautama Buddha. It was a long-standing custom for mendicant ascetics in India not to travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops, insects or even themselves during their travels. Many Buddhist ascetics live in regions which lack a rainy season. Consequently, there are places where Vassa may not be typically observed.
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