by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
On Saturday, 26th of October 2013, about 35 people, representing the community of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage, came together for a ceremony that marks the End of the annual Rains Retreat for the monastics.
Every year, the monastics make the determination to stay and practise and study in one place during the three months of the Rains Retreat. Normally, this is a time for most of the lay devotees to have regular contact with and teachings from the monastics. Traditionally, after the Rains Retreat, before the monastics departed and went on their journeys, Buddhist lay devotees, out of gratitude and faith, made various offerings of requisites especially robe material.
The monastic robe is regarded as the banner signifying the lineage of the Buddha. This is the robe that you can see the monks and nuns wearing now. This is a lineage of 2500 years of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis dating from the time of the Buddha. This is why the offering of robe material is an auspicious offering.
There are two types of ceremony after the end of the Rains Retreat. Kathina is a ceremony that is carried out when more than four bhikkhus or bhikkhunis have spent the Rains Retreat in one place. The End of the Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony is conducted when there are fewer than four bhikkhus or bhikkhunis who have successfully completed the three months of the Rains Retreat. Two bhikkhunis, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni ,completed their Rains Retreat at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. Therefore, the ceremony celebrated at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage was the End of Rains Cloth Offering Ceremony.
This year Peggy Chan offered the End of the Rains Cloth to the bhikkhunis of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. We appreciate and treasure the offering of the robe material as this signifies the faith, confidence and devotion of the donor to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
The Buddha mentioned in the Numerical Discourses that there are five gifts given by a good person: they give a gift out of faith, they give a gift respectfully, they give a gift at the right time, they give a gift with a generous heart, they give a gift without putting down others. The results of the gift come back to the person by way of great wealth, happiness, beauty, health, respect and support at the right time.
May all of you here, all beings here, supporting the monastics, and enabling the lineage of the Buddha to continue to flourish, have good health, happiness and strength, may you continue to practise for the attainment of Nibbana.