monks and rains retreat

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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confusedlayman
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monks and rains retreat

Post by confusedlayman »

Is rain retreat each year is compulsory or what it is?

is the time when monks stop doing monestry chores and layman not allowed, instead monks be alone and practice only meditation?


Why not summer retreat when in todays world during rains also people can easily come and go?

is rains retreat taken in another place remote area or same monestry?

what happens to one who take entire year as rain retreat or didnt take rains at all but do same thing everyday?
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SarathW
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Re: monks and rains retreat

Post by SarathW »

The first Buddhist monks did not have a rain retreat.
Monks used to wander around in rain, then other ascetics complained that Buddhist monks are killing the insect when walking in rainy days.
Then Buddha imposed this as a Vinaya rule.
Perhaps it is a minor rule and you can break it.
I think now it has been built into the system with the Katina ceremony.
:shrug:
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Jason
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Re: monks and rains retreat

Post by Jason »

Yes, the rule began with complaints of wandering monks trampling insects and crops during the rainy season, so it was stipulated that they stay at the same place for this time. Today this time is primarily used by monks to focus more on their own meditation practices and less on things like monastery work and teaching the laity.
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BKh
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Re: monks and rains retreat

Post by BKh »

Jason wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:39 pm
Today this time is primarily used by monks to focus more on their own meditation practices and less on things like monastery work and teaching the laity.
This is only true for an extremely small fraction of monks. The vast majority of monks don't even officially observe the vassana let alone live differently. The Vinaya proscribes nothing but the need to stay in one place. Keep in mind that in the time of the Buddha, most monks would have already been living the idealized monastic life we dream of.

We tend to imagine an idealized version of monastic life that just doesn't match with reality.

The word "retreat" is not in the Pali. This is a modern thing. It is better to call it a rains residence.
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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: monks and rains retreat

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara »

3. Rains (Vassa)
Allowance to enter the rains
Kd.3.1.1 BD.4.183 At one time the awakened one, the Lord was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding place. Now at that time (the use of) a rains-residence for monks had not come to be laid down by the Lord. So these monks walked on tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains.

Kd.3.1.2 People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, walk on tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains, trampling down the crops and grasses, injuring life that is one-facultied and bringing many small creatures to destruction? Shall it be that those members of other sects, whose rules are badly kept, cling to and prepare a rains-residence, shall it be that these birds, having made their nests in the tree-tops, cling to and prepare a rains-residence, while these recluses, sons of the Sakyans walk on a tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains, trampling down the crops and grasses, injuring life that is one-facultied and bringing many small creatures to destruction?”

Kd.3.1.3 Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Then these monks told this matter to the Lord. Then the Lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “I allow you, monks, to enter upon the rains.”

Kd.3.2.1 Then it occurred to these monks: “Now, when should the rains be entered upon?” They told this matter to the Lord.

BD.4.184 He said: “I allow you, monks, to enter upon the rains in the rainy season.”
We can see the beginning of the Vassa here, as a tradition already in practice in the culture and introduced for the good reputation of the Sangha.

Some more fine rules that allow monastics to travel for a variety of reasons(to visit sick people, teach Dhamma, etc) as long as they return to the designated vassa spot within 7 days:
.I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, and if the business can be done in seven days, to five (classes of people): to a monk, a nun, a probationer, a novice, a woman novice. I allow you, monks, to go to these five (classes of people) even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, and if the business can be done in seven days. The return should be made in seven days.
For parents:
. Allowance for seven when sent for
Kd.3.7.1 Now at that time a certain monk’s mother became ill. She sent a messenger to her son, saying: “Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come.” Then it occurred to that monk: “It is laid down by the Lord that, if the business can be done in seven days, one can go if sent for but not if not sent for to seven (classes of people); and, if the business can be done in seven days, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for to five (classes of people); and my own mother is ill, but she is not a lay-follower. Now what line of conduct should be followed by me?” They told this matter to the Lord.

Kd.3.7.2 BD.4.195 He said: “I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, if the business can be done in seven days, to seven (classes of people): to a monk, a nun, a probationer, a novice, a woman novice, a mother, a father. I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, if the business can be done in seven days, to these seven (classes of people). The return should be made in seven days.

Kd.3.7.3 “This is a case, monks, where a monk’s mother comes to be ill. If she should send a messenger to her son, saying: ‘Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come’, you should go, monks, … = Kd.3.6.2 … The return should be made in seven days.

Kd.3.7.4 “This is a case, monks, 1.148 where a monk’s father comes to be ill. If he should send a messenger to his son, saying: ‘Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come’, you should go … = Kd.3.6.2 … The return should be made in seven days.
As for my own experience of vassa, the Indian monsoon season is smack dab in the summer and busiest time for traveling to share Dhamma and lead retreats. For the Vassa to be what some people think most monastics experience ( ie a time of less to no duties and only practice), vassa would need to be moved to the winter season here in the West, something I do not see any real thing prohibiting doing so.

Technically there is no breach of a rule if you don't do vassa as far as I can tell, just rules once you enter into it. It is more tradition then need these days, at least outside monsoon areas of the world.
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confusedlayman
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Re: monks and rains retreat

Post by confusedlayman »

:goodpost: :sage:
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:22 am
3. Rains (Vassa)
Allowance to enter the rains
Kd.3.1.1 BD.4.183 At one time the awakened one, the Lord was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding place. Now at that time (the use of) a rains-residence for monks had not come to be laid down by the Lord. So these monks walked on tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains.

Kd.3.1.2 People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, walk on tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains, trampling down the crops and grasses, injuring life that is one-facultied and bringing many small creatures to destruction? Shall it be that those members of other sects, whose rules are badly kept, cling to and prepare a rains-residence, shall it be that these birds, having made their nests in the tree-tops, cling to and prepare a rains-residence, while these recluses, sons of the Sakyans walk on a tour during the cold weather and the hot weather and the rains, trampling down the crops and grasses, injuring life that is one-facultied and bringing many small creatures to destruction?”

Kd.3.1.3 Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Then these monks told this matter to the Lord. Then the Lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “I allow you, monks, to enter upon the rains.”

Kd.3.2.1 Then it occurred to these monks: “Now, when should the rains be entered upon?” They told this matter to the Lord.

BD.4.184 He said: “I allow you, monks, to enter upon the rains in the rainy season.”
We can see the beginning of the Vassa here, as a tradition already in practice in the culture and introduced for the good reputation of the Sangha.

Some more fine rules that allow monastics to travel for a variety of reasons(to visit sick people, teach Dhamma, etc) as long as they return to the designated vassa spot within 7 days:
.I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, and if the business can be done in seven days, to five (classes of people): to a monk, a nun, a probationer, a novice, a woman novice. I allow you, monks, to go to these five (classes of people) even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, and if the business can be done in seven days. The return should be made in seven days.
For parents:
. Allowance for seven when sent for
Kd.3.7.1 Now at that time a certain monk’s mother became ill. She sent a messenger to her son, saying: “Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come.” Then it occurred to that monk: “It is laid down by the Lord that, if the business can be done in seven days, one can go if sent for but not if not sent for to seven (classes of people); and, if the business can be done in seven days, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for to five (classes of people); and my own mother is ill, but she is not a lay-follower. Now what line of conduct should be followed by me?” They told this matter to the Lord.

Kd.3.7.2 BD.4.195 He said: “I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, if the business can be done in seven days, to seven (classes of people): to a monk, a nun, a probationer, a novice, a woman novice, a mother, a father. I allow you, monks, to go even if not sent for, all the more if sent for, if the business can be done in seven days, to these seven (classes of people). The return should be made in seven days.

Kd.3.7.3 “This is a case, monks, where a monk’s mother comes to be ill. If she should send a messenger to her son, saying: ‘Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come’, you should go, monks, … = Kd.3.6.2 … The return should be made in seven days.

Kd.3.7.4 “This is a case, monks, 1.148 where a monk’s father comes to be ill. If he should send a messenger to his son, saying: ‘Now I am ill, let my son come, I want my son to come’, you should go … = Kd.3.6.2 … The return should be made in seven days.
As for my own experience of vassa, the Indian monsoon season is smack dab in the summer and busiest time for traveling to share Dhamma and lead retreats. For the Vassa to be what some people think most monastics experience ( ie a time of less to no duties and only practice), vassa would need to be moved to the winter season here in the West, something I do not see any real thing prohibiting doing so.

Technically there is no breach of a rule if you don't do vassa as far as I can tell, just rules once you enter into it. It is more tradition then need these days, at least outside monsoon areas of the world.
You can become king of world with all the wealth but it is not equal to 0.1 % of jhana pleasure...

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