Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Royal Thai Kathina in Ladakh

Ven.Sanghasena with chief guest in front of the Burmese shrine

On October 10th the first Kathina robe offering ceremony was held in Ladakh at the Mahabodhi Campus. The Kathina ceremony is an important function/celebration held every year in theTheravada Buddhist countries of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. It marks the end of the traditional three months rainy season (vassa) where the monks stay in one location/monastery for three months. At the end of this period a Kathina ceremony is held by the lay devotees to offer new robes to the bhikkhus.This was the first time that such a ceremony was held in Ladakh. Because it was a historical first event for Theravada Buddhism in Ladakh the Thai Ambassador in Delhi arranged that it should be a Royal Kathina. This is a custom that the King of Thailand offers a special Kathina robe to select monasteries in Thailand and in foreign countries. The Mahabodhi Jetavana monastery is the only Theravada monastery in all of Ladakh, thus it was selected. An official representative of the King of Thailand and theThai Government was despatched to head a delegation of twenty-five Thai people. There were a lot of formalities to be followed and a Thai monk specially trained to supervise the 'Royal Kathina' arrived a few days ahead of the ceremony to train us monks to make sure everything was 'perfect'. The whole thing went off smoothly under the skilled supervision of Ven. Sanghasena, the head of the Mahabodhi Center, who is used to handling big functions. 

The site of the Royal Kathina at the Burmese shrine on the Mahabodhi campus

The Burmese shrine

With Asoka lion capitol and Dhamma wheel at each corner

With the background of the Himalaya

Thai delegation arrives lead by a police escort(front vehicle)

Mahabodhi boys, girls and staff patiently await

Procession is lead by the official representative for the King of Thailand

Shrine with the King's photo

Pause before the shrine holding the Royal Kathina robe

Part of the large crowd watching the event

Offering the Royal Kathina robe to the monks

Reading out a message from the King of Thailand

Thai delegation observing the monks acceptance of the Kathina robe

We are offering 'pranam' to the Buddha image, not the photo of the King

Accepting additional robes and gifts

I see a skillsaw being offered

Thai Ambassador offers one million rupees as seed money for the proposed Grand Buddha Temple in the Thai style to built on the Mahabodhi campus

Ven.Sanghasena offers a gift to be presented to the King of Thailand

A gift to the Thai Ambassador

Group photo after the ceremony

Monks and nuns going on allround 'pindapat'forlunch after the ceremony

Listening to the meal blessing chant

Thai Ambassador talks with the monks

Several Tibetan Lamas attended the ceremony 

Young monks of theMahabodhi Jetavana Monastery

Young nuns

On October 13th I flew from Leh to Delhi, and then a connecting flight to Nagpur in Maharashtra where I have been conducting a few retreats and giving talks to the Ambedkar Buddhists. 
I also made a visit to the Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad
Dramatic view of the Himalaya from the flight from Leh to Delhi

With Ven. Ananda at the Ajanta Caves   

View of the famous Ajanta Buddhist Caves

The waterfall at the Ajanta Caves

OnNovember 3rd I'll fly to Bangkok to begin a two week visit to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos. Until then..

                              Be Mindful Peaceful and Wise

No comments:

Post a Comment