THE BEAUTIFUL VASSA CANDLE PARADE IN THAILAND

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THE BEAUTIFUL VASSA CANDLE PARADE IN THAILAND

Postby yawares » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:08 am

:candle: HAPPY VASSA DAY :candle: to all members!

This Vassa Day I would like to show you the beautiful Candle festival/parade in Ubon Ratchathani,Thailand.
I had a chance to watch such a wonderful candle parade only once in my life standing in the hot sunlight on the street with my pretty Thai umbrella:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/i ... chiang+mai

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/i ... C+thailand

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Ubon Ratchathani, Candle Festival 2011, Thailand
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Thanks to youtube I can watch it again and again in my cool computer room. :thanks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rtoLXmrUg4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NwJzU9R ... ure=relmfu

Vassa (from Pali - vasso, Burmese - waso, Thai - pansa or phansaa), also called Rains Retreat, is the traditional retreat during the rainy season lasting for three lunar months from July to October. During this time Buddhist monks remain in a single place, generally in their temples. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the vassa to intensive meditation.

During vassa, many lay people reinvigorate their spiritual training and adopt more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking. Vassa is sometimes known as "Buddhist Lent", though at least one prominent Theravada monk has objected to this usage.

In countries such as Thailand, the laity will often take monastic vows for period of vassa and return to lay life afterwards. Commonly, the number of years a monk has spent in monastic life is expressed by counting the number of vassas he has observed.

The vassa retreat has largely been given up by Mahayana Buddhists, as Mahayana Buddhism has typically flourished in regions without a rainy season. However for Mahayana schools such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism other forms of retreat are common.

The observation of vassa is said to originate with the Buddha himself. Gautama Buddha ordered his disciples to observe a pre-existing practice whereby holy men avoided travel for a three month period during the rainy season, in order to avoid damaging crops.

Vassa begins on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month, the preceding day is Asalha Puja. The focus of celebration by the laity is the first day of vassa during which worshippers donate candles and other necessities to temples, in a ceremony which has reached its most extravagant form in the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival. Vassa is followed by two of the major festivals of the year among Theravada Buddhists, Wan Awk Pansa and Kathina.

The end of vassa is marked by joyous celebration. The following month, :candle: the kathina ceremony :candle: is held, during which the laity gathers to make formal offerings of robe cloth and other requisites to the Sangha.

************
:heart: Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:
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Re: THE BEAUTIFUL VASSA CANDLE PARADE IN THAILAND

Postby yawares » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:42 am

Dear Members,

LOY KRATONG FESTIVAL(in November), THAILAND

On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, creating a romantic setting ideal for lovers. The Thai people choose this day to hold the 'Loy Kratong' festival, or the 'festival of light.' Loy Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the country.
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Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. 'Loy' literally means 'to float,' while 'kratong' refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials are available.
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The Loy Kratong ritual is a simple one. One needs only to light the candles and the joss sticks, make one's wishes and let it float away with the current of a river or a canal.
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On that day, thousands of people will gather beside the canals and rivers. With kratong in hands, they light the candle, put some coins in the kratong and silently make a wish, and carefully place their kratongs in the water and release them to the current.
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They watch intently as the float drifts silently downstream, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. Altogether it is considered a romantic night for couples or lovers. Couples who make a wish together on Loy Kratong are thought to stay together in the future.
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Re: THE BEAUTIFUL VASSA CANDLE PARADE IN THAILAND

Postby plwk » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:04 am

The vassa retreat has largely been given up by Mahayana Buddhists, as Mahayana Buddhism has typically flourished in regions without a rainy season. However for Mahayana schools such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism other forms of retreat are common.

Yawares, this statement is partially true.
Whilst there are retreats of all sorts done in Mahayana & the sister Vajrayana Tradition, its monastic adherents maintain their Vassa too.
a. In 'Mahayana Buddhism', there is no 'Vinaya' per se. It is derived from two main sources: the earlier various Indian Sravaka Schools and the Bodhisattva Vows (what some Mahayanists in limited circles regard as a 'higher Vinaya' for ordination) and is followed mainly by the East Asian Mahayana Tradition and the sister branch Vajrayana (e.g Tibetan, Nepalese, Himalayan and Japanese streams) in their countries of origin and overseas transmissions.
Today's East Asian Mahayana have monastic ordination from the ancient Indian Sravaka School known as the Dharmaguptaka, which is considered as a 'close cousin' to Theravada and the Tibetan, Nepalese & Himalayan Vajrayana streams follows another 'close cousin' known as the Mulasarvastivada. Plus Theravada's Pali Vinaya, these other two Vinayas have survived until today and used for monastic ordinations. In Tibet's case, if the king back then during the great Indian Master Atisa Dipamkara's time would have allowed it, his own ordination Vinaya, the Mahasanghika would be a fourth one today but for reasons of uniformity and preventing ordination confusion, the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya was upheld as introduced and transmitted earlier by another prominent pioneer Indian Master to Tibet, Santaraksita and thus Atisa did not conduct any ordination as per the king's wishes.

b. In East Asian Mahayana (Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Traditions with the exception for the Japanese) which follows the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya, they observe the annual Varsah (Vassa) which traditionally begins on the 15th Day of the 4th Lunar Month (coinciding with Vesak Day) and ends around the 15th Day of the 7th Month, hence the famous occasion of the Ullambana celebration is joined with the Pravarana (Pavarana) Day, marking the end of this 'Rains Retreat' or also known as 'Summer Retreat' for them and the laity would come forth with the offerings of the requisites for the Sangha and other customary devotional practices. There are some variation in the dates of observance due to lunar calendar calculations but it is around this period of time. The same for Tibetan Vajrayana Tradition which also have monastics who observe it but I am unsure of the dates.
There was a case reported by the Chinese dailies in the northern part of my country where an elder bhikshu in the Chinese Mahayana Tradition, who migrated from Fujian, China, was ordained as a young child in the olden days of China and settled in my country during the World War II, who passed away some years back in his late eighties who clocked in the most number of Rains Retreat in my country, some say 60-70 over retreats in his lifetime.

c. Remember the Bodhisattva Vows, 'what some Mahayanists in limited circles regard as a 'higher Vinaya' for ordination'? In the Japanese's case, although they had the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya introduced and transmitted to them earlier, the Buddhist Traditions (e.g Tendai, Zen, Shingon, Jodo Shu/Shinshu, Nichiren et al here in Japan and their overseas transmissions) here have decided to abandon it in favor of the Bodhisattva Vows for ordination instead for various reasons. So, although they wear robes, live in a seemingly monastic like community, taking up celibacy and so forth, they are not regarded as Bhikshu/Bhikshuni as their ordination source is not from the Vinaya. Mostly, their clerics are known as priests/priestess and are addressed as 'Reverend' and so forth and since the Bodhisattva Vows do not entail compulsory celibacy for its upholders, the phenomena of some getting married with children is not unusual. It is claimed that there are still very few today in Japan who still observe the Vinaya, alongside with their brethren from other Buddhist Traditions which have taken root in Japan like the Chinese Mahayana, Theravada & Tibetan Vajrayana in the last recent developments.
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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