Posted on September 12, 2016
The kathina is a ceremony in which donors present cloth and other requisites to the monks who have spent the Rains Retreat together without break. As it may be held only between the full moon dates in October and November, and only once a year in any given monastery, it is considered a very special opportunity for donors to join in and develop the virtue of generosity together.
In the time of the Buddha, the last month of the rainy season (October/November) was the time when monks would prepare their requisites for the upcoming eight-month period when they could wander and meditate freely in the forest. In particular, this was the time when they would patch their old robes or sew new ones if the old ones were beyond repair. Lay supporters thus took the opportunity to provide the monks with cloth at this time, and the Buddha established the custom of the kathina, in which donors would present cloth to a community of monks as a whole. The monks would then make the cloth into a robe within that day and present it to one of their members whose robes were old and worn, or who was deserving in any other way.
The alms round begins at 8:30 am. After serving the monks, the lay people can have a meal from the dozens of free food booths. The ceremonial offering of the kathina cloth will be held around noon.
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