End of Buddhist Lent Day ( Auk Pan Sa )

Wednesday, October 12 marks the end of this year’s Buddhist Lent, or Auk Pansaa, celebrated on the full moon night of the eleventh month of the year. The event also marks the “official” end of the rainy season, even though the weather might not necessarily cooperate.

This day is the end of the Buddhist Lent that lasts three months. Buddhists will make
merit and offer food and other necessary goods to the monks. Time for the robe
offering ceremonies or “Thot Kathin”. These ceremonies are performed during one
month. Many activities originated on this day and have been passed on to the present
generation such as the wax castle offering and illuminated boat procession to worship
the Naga king.

This day is a religious event. The three months rain retreat is over for monks. Monks
are allowed to go out of temples. Robes offering ceremonies happen everywhere in
Thailand. Thai people choose temples everywhere in Thailand and bring their clothes,
food for the monks. “Thot Kathin” ceremonies last one month.

During the annual three-month Rains Retreat, Buddhist monks are to remain in their
temples. The tradition predates Buddhism in ancient India stated that this is to avoid
unnecessary travel during the period when crops were still new for fear they might
accidentally tread on young plants. While staying in temple, they renewed spiritual
vigor and meditate more, study more and teach more. There would be a large meeting
of the monks to review their discipline before leaving the monkhood.

Ordinary people take this lent period stop or completely quit drinking and smoking.
Young men enter the monk hood for spiritual training, to gain merit and good karma
for themselves and their parents and considered a gate to a mature adult. In some
areas, a man who has never been a monk is called “Khon Dip” or “Immature Person”.
With the modern life leaving for monkhood three months seem impossible, so being a
monk even 1 day or a week can be achieved in lent period as well. Now, this seems
nothing to be a monk for a day or a week, but the ceremony and shaving your head
and eyebrow can be quite significant. It’s a proof of basic determination to do good
deeds and follow the over two hundred rules of “not to do list” to be as pure as you
can be in Buddhism high spiritual training.

Furthermore, locals take this opportunity to jointly make merit. Merit activities on this
occasion vary from one area to another depending on geographic locations, such as
the wax castle festival in Sakon Nakhon, the illuminated boats procession in Nakhon
Phanom, and the Tak Bat Thewo Rohana festival in Uthai Thani.

By Ajarn Wara Chansin


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