Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kathina in the Past

In the lifetime of Lord Gotama Buddha, thirty Bhaddavaggi monks from Paveiyaka came to pay homage to the Buddha. At that time the Buddha stayed at Jetavana monastery near Savatthi. On arrival at the monastery, the Buddha allowed them celebrating and receiving the offering of Kathina robes due to a weary journey on the wet and damaging robes. From that day, Kathina ceremony started till today.

In retrospection on past event, after the first rains retreat (vassa), Lord Gotama Buddha lived in Benares in consideration of the Veneyas who are eligible for emancipation there. Then, Lord Gotama Buddha arrived at Uruvela forest and resided under a tree. At the moment, thirty Bhaddavaggi (half brothers of King Kosala) reached the Uruvela forest together with their wives for enjoying in the garden.

A prince, out of thirty princes, had no wife and used a prostitute as a wife. The prostitute stole his properties and went away. So, while they looked for the thief prostitute, they met the Lord Buddha, approaching respectfully, asked_
Bhaddavaggi:Venerable Sir, did you see a woman here?
Buddha: Why did you search for the woman?
Bhaddavaggi: Venerable Sir, we were wandering here and there in the forest and enjoying ourselves together with our wives. One of us hired a prostitute, because of absence of wife. That prostitute had chance to steal properties and ran away because of absent-minded and sensual pleasure. Therefore, we went in search of the lost woman.
As a result of this event_ 
Buddha: How did you think what I would say? Searching the lost woman and searching yourselves; in these twos which one was more worthier?
Bhaddavaggi: “The latter was worthier.

Then the Buddha preached a discourse on five words: concerning with generosity; morality; deva realm; misdeed of sensuality and benefit of liberation from sensuality.

Owing to hear the dhamma discourses, the princes became free from five hindrances (Nivarana).
So, Lord Buddha gave a talk on Four Noble Truths i.e. Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirodha and Magga sacca.

On this account every continuum of the princes was clear, because there were no ditthi and no vicikiccha. According to the dhammic nana they had got, some became Sotapanna; some others gained Sakadhagami and Anagami. They then respectfully made a request to the Buddha for ordination as bhikkhu.

With theEhi bhikkhu! the Buddha conferred ordination upon them at Uruvela forest.

Ehi bhikkhu! means “Come, monk!” In order to do well an end of suffering, practise the holy life rightly. As soon as the Buddha simply calls one a bhikkhu, the human-form naturally transformed one into bhikkhu with clean-shaven head, wearing the yellow robe in a proper manner, and carrying monk's bowl.”

When thirty Bhaddavaggi monks were dwelling in the forest for 13 years, to see Lord Buddha at Jetavana monastery they made a long journey to Savatthi, the capital of the Pasenadi Kosala kingdom. Unfortunately, they could make it only to Saketa, 6 yojana from Savatthi, before the rains retreat (vassa) began. They had to stay there for lent. When vassa came to an end, they set to Jetavana monastery after doing Pavarana meeting without having any delay.

Due to a heavy rain begun to fall en-route the monks became tired with the wet and damaging robes on their arrival at Jetavana. Having seen the unusual condition the Lord Buddha realised a need of new robes for thirty monks. So, He declared a permission to receive new ones which is offered by the devotees ever since, after the rains retreat.

On hearing of their unhappy account of the past, he expounded a dhamma concerning with Samsara (Samyutta Nikaya Anamatagga Samyutta Timsamatta Sutta). They attained enlightenment as arahatship.

Then the Buddha went on saying:
Oh! Bhikkhus. I allowed you who had observed the rains retreat (vassa) to celebrate Kathina ceremony.” 
Reference: About Kathina, by Ashin Kundalabhivamsa (Saddhammaramsi Sayadaw).

Posted by Nyan U

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