Merit Making Traditions During the Buddhist Lent

The tradition of Buddhist Lent or the annual three-month Rains Retreat known in Thai and Lao as Khao Pansa marks the beginning of the three month Buddhist ‘Lent‘. Laypeople provide monasteries with stacks of new robes for Lent monks, since during the Lent period monks are restricted to their monasteries for a prolonged period of spiritual retreat. Ordinary people are also expected to be rather more religious during this time, marriages do not take place and it is inauspicious to move house. This is a good time for young men to temporarily enter the monastery. (source)

As for our local temple, Wat Greensboro or Greensboro Buddhist Center, we’ve Buddhist service and Alms Giving every Sunday during the Rains Retreat. Our Wat (Temple) is looking to expand the Sala Hong Tham (worship hall) and we’ve the opportunity to broadcast part of the sermon on TV, I think it is going to be on NatSat TV.

Some Buddhist worshipers were there to Tum Boun (merit making) for their passed loved ones, the deceased names were written on a white piece of paper, then burned during the ceremony.

Lee Wai to pay respect during the ceremony.

Some pay respect by the big Buddha.

The money trees or Tun Phapa were presented to the temple by individuals, and this lady was there to Tum Boun (merit making) for her dog that passed away, the money tree on the right hand side was hers.

There was also a basket of goodies for dog, this was donated to the temple, kind of odd you might think but not at all since our local temple have several dogs.

One of the dogs is Boy, Miss Little Sunshine went to tell him the good news.

A bowl for Alms Giving, looks like it’s made out of real silver, a beautiful handicraft from Laos judging by the mystical three-headed elephant design on the rice basket.

Buddhist tradition of Alms Giving, men are allowed to stand when give Alms, but ladies have to kneel down.

The presentation of Tun Phapa or money tree, and food offering to the monks.

Then the sermon afterward and this concluded the end of the service.

She is adorable, remember her?

Mangoes for sale at the temple, only $1 per pound, they’re huge, each mango is a pound.

Lum-Yai or Longan, they were selling it $3 per pound and I bought 9 pounds, needless to say that I have a bad sore throat now, I think I ate too much.

The Jackfruit or Ka Noon was so big that they had to cut it up, the portion on the scale was over 5 lbs, she said it was $31. It was too pricey for me but the aroma is to die for. And no, this is not Durian (Thu Rian), you might die if you smell that, after all, it is considered the King of all stinky Tropical fruit.

I wonder if it tastes as good as it smells and looks.

Two spirit houses, and a bench in the middle to sit and relax, I’m just not so sure, so I asked for permission to take a picture and left.

Rows of Persimmon trees.

The persimmons are not ready to harvest, and I did do a taste test and it’s definitely not ready, might be ready at the end of September or beginning October.

It’s nice to see the Bodhi tree again, it’s everywhere in Laos, but not in America.

There are plenty of fruits on Tun Kathun in Lao, Putsar in Thai, and Chinese dates or jujube in English.

They look so good, I also did a taste test and it’s not very sweet, might not be ready for harvest yet.

The Buddhist monk garden, rows and rows of vegetables.