Purpose of rain retreat

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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D1W1
Posts: 365
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 5:52 am

Purpose of rain retreat

Post by D1W1 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:55 am

Hi all,

I’m wondering what is the purpose of not allowing monks going out/travel during rainy season? Is it true to minimize the killing of small creature i.e. insects that may come out during rainy season as stated on Wikipedia:
The Vassa tradition predates the time of Gautama Buddha.[1] It was a long-standing custom for mendicant ascetics in India not to travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops, insects or even themselves during their travels. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vassa)
If that is the case than I think there is benefit too of not taking shower for example, of course for the same purpose, unintentionally killing small creatures. Any thought will be appreciated, thanks.

Caodemarte
Posts: 753
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Purpose of rain retreat

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:29 pm

D1W1 wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:55 am
Hi all,

I’m wondering what is the purpose of not allowing monks going out/travel during rainy season? Is it true to minimize the killing of small creature i.e. insects that may come out during rainy season as stated on Wikipedia:
The Vassa tradition predates the time of Gautama Buddha.[1] It was a long-standing custom for mendicant ascetics in India not to travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops, insects or even themselves during their travels. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vassa)
If that is the case than I think there is benefit too of not taking shower for example, of course for the same purpose, unintentionally killing small creatures. Any thought will be appreciated, thanks.
I understand that it was too difficult or impossible to travel or have outdoor assemblies to preach to during the rainy season. Practically speaking one had to stay somewhere indoors or in a cave and other work was put aside. Travel was resumed after the rains.

BTW, If you don’t take care of hygiene you will unintentionally kill more small creatures and may harm larger ones. It is best not to be over scrupulous and inadvertently do worse.

justindesilva
Posts: 434
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: Purpose of rain retreat

Post by justindesilva » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:30 pm

D1W1 wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:55 am
Hi all,

I’m wondering what is the purpose of not allowing monks going out/travel during rainy season? Is it true to minimize the killing of small creature i.e. insects that may come out during rainy season as stated on Wikipedia:
The Vassa tradition predates the time of Gautama Buddha.[1] It was a long-standing custom for mendicant ascetics in India not to travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops, insects or even themselves during their travels. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vassa)
If that is the case than I think there is benefit too of not taking shower for example, of course for the same purpose, unintentionally killing small creatures. Any thought will be appreciated, thanks.
It is well known that Lord Buddha decided to sojourn from Nikini full moon day , when the rainy season starts in India. This decision was made by Lord budda on the request of King Bimbisara who felt this need of sojourn as the Buddhist monks were undergoing immense hardships during the rainy season.
This season is made use of by monks to stitch there robes and dye them for their future use and to meditate extensively.
This is a brief explanation of the vassana period and the Theravada Buddhists take uo this period with great reverence.

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