The Buddhist Lent Day

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The Buddhist Lent Day
The Important Buddhist Day
 The Buddhist Lent Day
History of the Buddhist Lent Day

At the beginning of the Buddha Time, the Buddhist Lent was not appointed, so each monk could teach the congregations throughout the year.  Whenever a monk determined that he would like to teach his congregations and he was available, he went to do.  Sometimes, some monks did not go out to teach anyone, but they saw some places suitable to meditate, they went to do so.  The most places for them were in the forests or on the faraway hills which they had to past the country.
Because of the monks’ traveling and farmers worked in their farms in the rainy season, the monks damaged the farmers’ rice sprouts unintentionally because they misunderstood that the rice sprouts were grass.  So, the farmers went to sue the Lord Buddha that the monks damaged their rice sprouts, why the monks did not stay in the temples during the rainy season like birds.

 The Buddhist Lent is from the first waning moon day of the 8th Lunar month to the 15th waxing moon day of the 11th Lunar month

To solve this problem, the Lord Buddha determined that the monks had to stay in the temples during the rainy season, from the first waning moon day of the 8th Lunar month to the 15th waxing moon day of the 11th Lunar month, called the Buddhist Lent.  So, the monks have not gone anywhere to practice meditation or to teach anyone.  If someone wants to listen to the sermon, he/she has to go to the temple instead of inviting the monk(s) to visit his/her place.

In another aspect, the Lord Buddha had changed this problem to be a good chance for the monks that when the monks stayed in the temples, the new monks were trained by the senior monks fully and continuously which resulted good in the moral cultivation, Dhamma and Monastic Disciplines Transfer and Teaching.

The monks have to stay in the temples during the Buddhist Lent

So, the Lord Buddha announced that the monks had to stay in the temples during the Buddhist Lent, the new monks studied Dhamma from the senior monks, and the senior monks taught Dhamma and the monastic disciples to the junior monks. 

Not only that, the senior monks had to plan what they would do after the Buddhist Lent, where they would go to spread Dhamma, and how they could improve their Dhamma teaching to be appropriate to places and social, etc.
 During the Buddhist Lent, junior monks study Dhamma from their senior monks

From that time on, staying in the temples during the Buddhist Lent of the monks is good for people, junior monks, and senior monks.

The Monastic Routines during the Buddhist Lent

The monastic routines during the Buddhist Lent are as same as other days except going out of the temples, so the monks have a good chance to do many things such as meditation.  Moreover, the monks can improve their teaching and have more time to study the Pali Cannon as well.

 The monks have more time to study the Pali Cannon during the Buddhist Lent

If you have a chance to visit many temples, you will see that Thai Buddhist guys prefer to be ordained during the Buddhist Lent.  When they are monks and the senior monks have to stay in the temples, so the new monks and the senior monks are in the same places, the senior monks will teach what they are expert to the new monks.

Simply, the Buddhist Lent is the Moral Camping period for monks.  It is the time for monks to study Pali Cannon because the monks have more time than other periods.

 The Buddhist Lent is the Moral Camping period for monks

The monks not only study the Pali Cannon but also practice meditation. Moreover, when there are many new monks, their families and relatives will go to the temple to visit the new monks.  Even if the new monks are able to teach Dhamma, the senior monks can, so the new monks’ families and relatives have a good chance to listen to the senior monks’ sermon and make merit. So, it is also the moral study time for the congregations.

What the Buddhists should do during the Buddhist Lent
During the Buddhist Lent, both senior and junior monks stay in the same places, so it is a good chance for the congregations to make merit with a lot of merit fields.  Our forebears never let the monks to have the special time only, they did too.  Our forebears had this special time by making a pledge to do some special things during the Buddhist Lent.

Three Dhamma Principles in Buddhism
They are
1.    Stop doing bad deeds
2.    Do only good deeds
3.    Purify his/her mind

“Stop doing bad deeds for monks” is deeper than not doing the bad common things for people. The monks have to get rid of or lessen their defilements and some of them are difficult to determine worldly that they are bad deeds such as the distraction of mind.  The monks try to lessen their distraction by meditation.  They try their best for the dignity of their monkhood.
 The new monks intend to study for more knowledge during the Buddhist Lent

For doing only good deeds, the senior monks intentionally teach the junior monks and the new monks intend to study for more knowledge and accumulate their good deeds as well as making their mind bright and clear by chanting since the early time.  Monks always wake up at 4:00 a.m. to pray the morning chanting.

For the congregations, they prefer to make a pledge since the first day of the Buddhist Lent that what bad deed(s) they will stop such as stop drinking, stop smoking, etc. So, the congregations imitate the monks by making a pledge to stop doing bad deeds.

For doing good deeds, the congregations will try to do their better such as if they offer alms in the morning alms rounds 2-3 days a week before the Buddhist Lent, they may make a pledge that they will do more often during the Buddhist Lent and do it so.
 Keeping the eight precepts instead of the five precepts during the Buddhist Lent

Some people keep five precepts every day, they take this chance to keep eight precepts on the monk days during the Buddhist Lent.  Someone always keeps eight precepts every monk day, he/she may do it more or every day during the Buddhist Lent.

For the more faithful people, they may make a pledge that they will meditate one hour or more before going to bed.  Buddhists prefer to make a pledge to do like these, depending on their faith, during the Buddhist Lent.

Another important thing is because of the changeable societies, most people have their holidays on weekends, but the monks have taught Dhamma mainly on the monk days, so there are only the old people going to listen to Dhamma on the monk days.

Luang Phaw and Luang Phi, please teach Dhamma to people more on Saturday and Sunday because of their holidays.  For the congregations, when you know that the monks will teach you more on Saturday and Sunday, don’t miss this good chance and persuade your friends to go to the temple to listen the sermon.  If you can do like this, you will get a lot of merit throughout the Buddhist Lent, your life will be better, progress and prosperous than ever and so will the Buddhism and our nation.

Translated by Chadawee Chaipooripat


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