Yesterday October 23rd marked the end of the three month rains retreat, and today was Ok Punsa or the end of Buddhist Lent Day at our local temple Wat Greensboro. The tradition of Buddhist Lent or the annual three-month Rains Retreat known in Laos and Thailand as Punsa, which dated back to the early Buddhism in ancient India. This is the time where monks spent three months of the annual rainy season in permanent dwellings. This is to avoid unnecessary traveling during the period when crops were still new for fear they might accidentally step on young plants. It was believed that in the ancient time, the Lord Buddha left earth for 3 months to visit his mother up in heaven. He wanted to show his gratitude by chanting for her during this Lent period, and the day of Ork Punsa was the day that he returned to earth. All the people came to greet him, as we carried the tradition to this day by gathering at our local temple to celebrate his returned.
The money trees or Tun Phapa were presented to the temple by individuals, this time we had 2 trees and a total of $415.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, according to our Buddhist belief Tuk Badt or Alms giving is believed by many that it’s a Boun (merit making) of life, that they will live a long and healthy life. Below is a picture of items for alms giving.
Today’s Alms giving is called Tuk Badt Tayvo. It’s an old Thai tradition of Alms giving where the Buddhist worshipers would lineup and the monks come by to collect Alms. The line was lead by a Buddha statue, then followed by monks.
A Buddhist worshiper offering alms to an American monk.
The next religious event coming up is Thot Kathin, one of the biggest religious events of the year.