|How shall I spend the rainy season, hopping around or meditating? (onebigphoto.com)|
According to the ancient Theravada Buddhist tradition, the Asalha Full Moon Day marks the beginning of the Vas (Vassana) Season. Supporters of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara will formally invite the resident monastics to observe Rains Retreat at 5:00 pm. Those observing the Eight Precepts earlier in the day are also invited to attend this auspicious and meritorious event.
- Dharma sermons,
- Sutra discussions,
- Meditation practice,
- Bodhi devotional ceremonies,
- Atavisi Buddha puja and more
Wisdom Quarterly wiki edit
|Buddhist monks traversing Pongua Waterfalls in Vietnam (sun-surfer.com)|
The three-lunar-month annual retreat observed by Theravada practitioners during the Indian rainy season is called Vassa between July and October. In English, it is often glossed as Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent, the latter by analogy to the Catholic/Christian Lent (which Buddhism predates by at least five centuries). For the duration of monastics reside at one monastery rather than traveling around. In some monasteries, they dedicate this time to teaching the Dharma or to intensive meditation. Some lay Buddhists choose to observe the period by adopting more ascetic practices, such as giving up alcohol, meat, and smoking if they are already engaged in these harmful activities. It may casually be called "Buddhist Lent," others object to this terminology. It is, after all, more of an obligation for monastics than lay Buddhists. How long someone has been a monk or nun is actually calculated not by calendar years but by how many Rains Retreats one has successfully observed. Most Mahayana Buddhists do not observe it, though many Seon/Thien monastics in Korea and Vietnam observe an equivalent retreat of three months of intensive practice in one location, and in Tibetan Buddhism this period of intensive retreat is called Yarne.