Wat Tampa In English

What's Happening at Wat Tampa

WatTampaInEnglish is the unofficial web site for Wat Tampa (Wat Mongkolratanaram)

Dogs are welcome at the Sunday Market but please don't bring them onto the deck where the food is served.

The Sunday Market is held every Sunday, come rain or shine, from about 8:30am until 1:00 pm. Some booths may run out of food earlier. Come join us for great food & view in a family friendly setting!

Interested in meditation workshop? Open the Meditation menu and select 2017 Meditation Workshops for a list of dates. Signup forms are available in the Temple. You can also sign-up at the workshop.

Click here to learn more about the Buddha Learning Group. The discussion group meets every Sunday in the main Temple between 11:30am and 12:30pm. On the second Sunday of each month we have a more formal session on Buddhism.

Click here to see some interesting information about Wat Tampa!

Click here to learn more about Wat Tampa. Even frequent visitors may find something interesting on this page! Opens in a new window!

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Schedule of Events for Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Market     8:30am to 1:00pm
 Buddha Learning Group   11:30am-12:30pm
 Sunday Religious Servicece  1:00pm-2:00pm

 

 

There will NOT be a Sunday Market on December 24, 2017. Our volunteers will be spending the day with their families.

 First time visitors: The Sunday Market is cash only. The closest ATM is located at the 7-11 (about 1/3 mile west of the Temple) on Palm River Road.

Parking at Wat Tampa: Please DO NOT park in the church parking area (including the grassy area) because your car may be towed at YOUR expense.

The following are the Buddhist and Thai holidays celebrated at Wat Tampa.

New Years Day 2018 - January 1, 2018

Welcome to Wat Mongkolratanaram (also know as Wat Tampa). Happy New Year!

Let me start today by quoting to you a traditional Thai New Years wish: "By the power of the Buddhist Triple Gems: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha - May you and your family be blessed with good health, beautiful, prosperous, long life, and be successful in your career and in life for the New Year. May all of these blessings and all your wishes be fulfilled."

Read more: New Years Day 2018 - January 1, 2018

Makha Puja Day - March 4, 2018

Makha Puja Day falls on the full moon day of the third lunar month. The date of all of the Thai festivals is based on the lunar calendar so the "American" dates vary from year to year. We will be celebrating Magha Puja Day at Wat Tampa on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

This ceremony marks two important dates in the life of Buddha. The first event occurred two years after Buddha’s enlightenment and is referred to as the Fourfold assembly. These events were:

  • All 1,250 monks had achieved enlightenment.
  • These monks were ordained by Buddha himself
  • The monks assembled on their own without being called together.

Read more: Makha Puja Day - March 4, 2018

Songkarn Festival - April 15, 2018

On Sunday, April 15, 2018  we celebrate the Songkarn Festival. You may know it by one of its "nicknames" – Thai New Year or the Water Festival.

It is a Thai tradition to give Alms offering to Monks. And in turn, you offer this good deed to relatives who passed away by wishing for them by pouring a small glass of water on a big tree and it is a very good deed and good luck for the beginning of a New Year. This year, as in earlier years there will be a ceremony of sprinkling the Buddha statues and Monks with flower pedals & perfumed water., and, of course, the congregation will also sprinkle perfumed water on each other for good luck and good health and a prosperous New Year. There will be Thai Vegetable and Thai food available.

Read more: Songkarn Festival - April 15, 2018

Visakha Puja Day - May 27, 2018

Visakha Puja Day is an important day in Buddhism.  We will celebrate Visakha Puja Day at Wat Tampa on Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Visakha Puja Day marks the Buddhism Trinity or three important incidents occurred in the life of Lord Buddha on the same day. They happened on the same day on full moon of the sixth lunar month.

Read more: Visakha Puja Day - May 27, 2018

Asalha Puja Day / King's Birthday 2018- July 29, 2018

Asalha Puja Day is one of the most sacred days in Buddhism. It is observed on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eight lunar month (July).  This year it is celebrated at Wat Tampa on Sunday, July 29, 2018.

Asalha Puja Day is the anniversary of the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first Sermon to his five Disciples at the Deer Park in Benares, over two thousand five hundred years ago. The day also marks the beginning of the worship of the Triple Gems, namely: the Lord Buddha, His Teachings and His Disciples. This day also is celebrated as Thai Father's day (King's birthday).

Read more: Asalha Puja Day / King's Birthday 2018- July 29, 2018

Thai Mothers Day - August 12, 2018

This year Thai Mothers Day will be celebrated on Sunday, August 12, 2018. Her Majesty, Queen Sirikit of Thailand was born on August 12th, 1932. Thai Mothers Day is a celebration of the Queen's birthday as well as to honor mothers everywhere. The Queen is the symbolic mother of Thailand and is honored as the "First Mother". For almost sixty years, the Queen has stood by the Thai nation dedicating her time and efforts to the common good. For all of her endless devotion the people of Thailand are grateful.

If the Temple sponsors the Thai Summer school in 2018, the graduation ceremony will also be held on August 12.  A complete list of events includess:

  • Nuns will receive and observe the eight precepts to honor Her Majesty the Queen
  • There will be a public ceremony honoring the Queen
  • Thai Summer School Graduation Ceremony
  • The summer school students will participate in Thai classical dancing and Music shows

Sart Thai Day - September 23, 2018

Sart Thai day will be celebrated at Wat Tampa on Sunday, September 23, 2018 this year. Sart Thai day falls in the middle of the traditional Thai year. It occurs on the fifteenth day of the waning moon of the tenth lunar month (sometime during September).

The word Sart, derived from the Pali language, means season and in particular autumn or fall. Sart Thai day is also referred to as Memorial Day. This is not Memorial Day as Americans might assume. In Thailand, Sart Thai is a time to remember dead relatives with prayers, Buddhist rituals, and merit making on their behalf. 

Read more: Sart Thai Day - September 23, 2018

End of Buddhist Lent - October 21, 2018

This ceremony marks the end of Buddhist lent and is being celebrated at Wat Tampa on Sunday, October 21, 2018. This year the celebration will also include the Kathina Ceremony.

The first day of Thai Lent is referred to as Asalha Puja Day (or Commencement Day). This holiday will be celebrated at Wat Tampa on July 29 this year. The date of all of the Thai festivals is based on the lunar calendar so the "American" dates vary from year to year. You may also here Lent referred to as the "rains retreat."

Read more: End of Buddhist Lent - October 21, 2018

Kathina Ceremony 2018

The Kathina Ceremony will be celebrated at Wat Tampa on Sunday November 11, 2018. This ceremony is the culmination of events that started with the "rains retreat" or start on Lent. The Kathina (or Royal Krathina) occurs shortly after the end of Lent for the reasons explained below.

During Lent (roughly the rainy season in Thailand) monks could not travel.The monks stayed overnight in the same temple for three lunar months. The Kathina ceremony originates from the time of Buddha. The original ceremony was for a group of monks traveling to meet Lord Buddha. They were unable to completed their journey before the beginning of the rains retreat (Lent). At the end of Lent they completed their journey. Their clothes had become soaked and dirty on their way to meet Lord Buddha. When Buddha saw their condition he allowed lay people to offer the monks yellow robes. The tradition of presenting robes to monks continues today in the Kathina ceremony.

Read more: Kathina Ceremony 2018

Loy Krathong Festival - Saturday Night, November 25, 2018

This year we will celebrate the Loy Krathong Festival  on SATURDAY night, November 25, 2018.  Typically the festivities start at 6pm. This is one of the most beautiful and popular festivals in Thailand. Loy Krathong is celebrated on the day of the full moon in November. Part of the reason for its popularity is the weather, which is quite pleasant. The temperature is mild, the monsoon rains have subsided, and there is plentiful water in the klongs (canals).

The central event in Loy Krathong is the launching of krathongs. A krathong is a small lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves, flowers, candles, and three incense sticks. Don't be confused by this simple description. Many krathongs are elaborate vessels that take many hours to construct. People launch the krathongs into any "large" body of water to carry away their bad luck. Prior to launching they light the candle and incense and make a wish. It is considered good luck if the krathong floats away from you.

 

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 Loy Krathong originated about 700 years ago in the Sukhothai kingdom. Sukhothai is located about half way between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. The farmers during this period of Thai history held a festival to launch floating candles to thank the water god for the waters. This ceremony coincided with the end of the harvest season. A beautiful woman named Noppamas made the first decorated krathong using banana leaves in the shape of a lotus flower. King Lithai saw the decorated float and decreed that krathongs would be floated every year.

At Wat Tampa our festival will feature, of course, launching Krathongs into the Palm River. many other activities are planned and will be listed here once the planning for this years festival is completed. As part of the Loy Krathong Festival we usually hold the "Nopamas Queen" beauty contest.

Activities will include:

  • Ms. Noppamas Pageant
  • Lotus floating to honor "Phra Mae Khongha", the Thai Goddess of Water
  • Traditional Thai Dancing
  • Local Thai band "Song Funghong"
  • Delicious authentic Thai food

The following is a list of items that are celebrated in Thailand. Enjoy!

1.  To pay respect to the footprint of Buddha found on the bank of Nammathanayi, one of the rivers in the regionof Thakkhinabot, India, which is known as Nehrabhuddha River today.

2. To pay respect to and seek forgiveness from Phra Mae Khongkha, the Water Goddess, for past misdeeds. It's also a chance to express our gratitude to the river since it provides us with water to use and drink.

3.  To worship Phra Upakut, which is highly venerated by worshippers in Northen Thailand. According to legend, after achieving nirvanna Phra Upakut went to practice meditation under the deep sea.

4.  Floating a krathong is believed to dispel bad luck as well as bring fortune. (editors note: Assumes the krathong floats away from you).

5.  Putting some coins in a krathong is believed to bring you wealth in the coming year.

6.  Loy Krathong promotes family bonding. It is a chance for us to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones.

7.  Loy Krathong promotes economy within the community, society, and nation at large.

8.  Putting nail and hair clippingsin a krathong is believed to ward off bad luck.

9.  Loy Krathong promotes handcraftsmanship, creativity, and folk wisdom by encouraging the use of natural materials.

10.  To carry on the beautiful Thai traditionthat has been passed on down to us from Sukhothai Kingdom (mid-13th century to late 14th century).

Click here to see information on the Loy Krathong Festival in Bangkok.

Thai Father's Day - December 3, 2018

We will celebrate Thai father day on Sunday, December 3, 2018.

New Years Day 2019 - January 1, 2019

Welcome to Wat Mongkolratanaram (also know as Wat Tampa). Happy New Year! Temnple will celebrate New years Day 2018 on January 1, 2019

Let me start today by quoting to you a traditional Thai New Years wish: "By the power of the Buddhist Triple Gems: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha - May you and your family be blessed with good health, beautiful, prosperous, long life, and be successful in your career and in life for the New Year. May all of these blessings and all your wishes be fulfilled."

Read more: New Years Day 2019 - January 1, 2019


 

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00. Buddhist FAQ Overview

The questions and answers in this FAQ were extracted from the Buddhist Questions and Answers pamphlet published by Wat Mongkolratanaram (Wat Tampa). WatTampaInEnglish is not the official Wat Mongkolratanaram web site and the content below should be considered unofficial.

01. What is Buddhism?

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism may be defined and explained from various standpoints as follows:

  1. Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha (the Enlightened One), proposes to develop humankind through purity (by means of morality), calmness (by means of concentration) and clarity (by means of wisdom).
  2. Buddhism is a religion founder by the Buddha for the welfare of many, for the happiness of many and for helping the world. People from all walks of life can apply the teachings to practice in accordance with their ability and free will.
  3. Buddhism is a religion of reason and practice for self-help and self-reliance and for extending a helping hand to others out of loving-kindness and compassion.
  4. Buddhism is both a philosophy and practice. Though it accepts the existence of divine beings, it did not put belief in a supreme being as a significant part of the religion. Instead it teaches the followers to have qualifications such as moral shame and moral fear, making one devine in the Dhamma in this life; to be endowed with right faith, morality, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Furthermore, Buddhism teaches that one who is free from defilement's of greed, hatred, and delusion is reckoned as superior.
  5. General information about Buddhism is as follows:

Country of Origin: India

Date of Origin: Sixth Century BC (Buddhist Century)

The Founder: The Buddha (The Enlightened One - previously Prince Siddhattha of Gotama clan within the Sakya lineage.

Doctrinal Tenets: To avoid all evil, to do good, and to purify the mind

Type of Religion: Universal, spreading out to many countries of the world; Atheistic, regarding no divine being as the centre of the teaching

Main Divisions: Theravada and Mahayana

Unity of Diversity: The World Fellowship of Buddhist is the world organization for unity of all Buddhist throughout the world. It has one hundred twenty three regional centers in 37 countries (B.E. 2539 (1996)). The permanent headquarters of the World Fellowship of Buddhist is in Thailand.

 

02. Historical Background of Buddhism

This article is extracted from the Buddhist Questions and Answers pamphlet published by Wat Mongkolratanaram (Wat Tampa). WatTampaInEnglish is not the official Wat Mongkolratanaram web site and the content below should be considered unofficial.

What is the historical and geographical background of Buddhism?

Buddhism came into existence in India some 2,600 years ago when an Indian Prince, Siddhatta, became enlightened and hence came to be known as the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One. His teaching is preserved in Buddhist scriptures known as Tripitaka, which literally means the three baskets, namely the Vinaya or Vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), Sutta or Suttanta-pitaka (collection of the teachings of the Buddha and His disciples) and Abhidhamma or Abhidhamma-pitaka (higher philosophy).

Buddhism is Atheistic; it does not give significance to Divine beings. There are two major Schools in Buddhism: Theravada, the teachings as preserved by the elders, and Mahayana, the later development. The former is practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, and Cambodia. The later is more prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Tibet.

 

03. Purpose of Buddha's Preaching

What are the purposes of the Buddha's preaching?

 In the First Sermon, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (the Discourse of the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma or Truth), the Buddha pointed out the Middle Way which gives vision, which gives knowledge, which is conducive to calmness, insight, enlightenment and Nibbana (the state of being free from all defilements and suffering).

In one of His discourses, the Buddha summarized His teaching with the words "Vimutti or Spiritual Freedom from all defilements and sufferings in the Ultimate."

When sending His first sixty disciples on their preaching tour, the Buddha said:

"I, now, monks, am free from all bonds of gods and men. And you too, monks, are free from all bonds of gods and men. Travel, monks, for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for helping the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of gods and men."

From Buddha's words, above mentioned, we can say that Nibbana or Vimutti is the main purpose of the preachings of the Buddha. He encouraged His disciples to walk the Middle Way in order to eradicate all defilements and sufferings and then, out of compassion for all, lend a help hand to others.

In brief, Buddha taught people how to be happy and prosperous in a worldly as well as a spiritual sense. Those who follow His teachings can select their way of life practicable for themselves.

04. Buddhism Status Among World Religions

What is the status of Buddhism among world living religions?

World living religions can be classified according to their doctrinal tenets into various categories such as:

  1. Theistic religions: believing in the supremacy of a divine being or beings.
  2. Atheistic religions: not believing in the supremacy of any divine being.

Buddhism belongs to the latter. It lays stress on virtuous quantities which every human being can develop. According to Buddhism, good knowledge and conduct (Vijja-carana) make a person excellent among divine and human beings. Good knowledge and release from all defilements and suffering (Vijja-vimutti) are Buddhistic ideas.

 

05. Meaning of Buddhist Flag

What is the meaning of the Buddhist flag?

The Buddhist flag, or the flag of Chabbannarangsi, as approved by the World Fellowship of Buddhists at its inaugural conference in B.E. 2493 (1950) consists of six colours. The first five colours are arranged vertically as follows: blue, yellow, red, white, and orange. The sixth colour, called in Pali “Pabhassara”, which means “brilliant” or “radiant”, cannot be depicted but is symbolized by the combination of the first five colors arranged horizontally in a narrow strip on the right.

This six-coloured flag was originally designed by Colonel Henry S. Olcott, an American Buddhist, and has been used by the Sri Lankan Buddhists ever since. However, it gained wider recognition when it became the official flag of the World Fellowship of Buddhists at its inception in B.E. 2493 (1950).

 The design was based on the belief that wherever the Buddha went, he spread the light of wisdom and bliss to the people all around in six directions, namely, east, west, north, south, above and below. This light was later symbolized by the six colors in the Buddhist flag.

  However, for Thai Buddhists, a yellow flag with the symbol of the Wheel of Dhamma (Dhammacakka) has been in general use since B.E. 2501 (1958) when it was officially proclaimed by the Thai Sangha Authorities.

 

 

06. Meaning of the Buddhist Symbol

What is the meaning of the Buddhist symbol?

 The Buddhist symbol is in the form of a wheel with eight spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path, which means the way leading to the cessation of suffering. This path consists of the following:


 Right View, Right Motives, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

 
 This symbol is called “Dhammacakka” or the Wheel of Dhamma and has been adopted as the seal of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. 
 

07. Differences Between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

What are the differences between the two major Schools of Buddhism, i.e. Theravada and Mahayana?

 Theravada means the School which maintains the original teaching of the Buddha. Its root can be traced back to the First Council which was held soon after the Buddha’s passing away; hence it is considered the oldest School. Mahayana came much later, roughly speaking, about 600 years after the Buddha’s time. Vajarayana or Tantrayana developed from the Mahayana approximately 400 years after the beginning of the Mahayana.

  Geographically, Theravada is more prevalent in Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Cambodia and Laos while Mahayana is prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and Tibet.

Theoretically both Schools share the fundamental teachings of the Four Noble Truths, etc. but Mahayana developed many more Sutras as elaboration of the original teaching. Among the important Mahayana Sutras are Saddharmapundarika-Sutra, Vimalakirtinirdesa-Sutta, Bhaisajyaguru-Sutra, etc. However, the Vinaya (monastic disciplines) of both Schools remain very similar. The difference in practices is primarily due to different sociological and geographical contexts.
 

08. Buddhist Beliefs

How and what should the Buddhist believe?

The Buddha is the Enlightened One who discovered the Supreme Truth. He did not force anyone to believe in His teaching with blind faith. The reasonableness of the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teaching, lies in the fact that it welcomes any critical examination at all stages of the path to enlightenment. To understand the nature of all phenomena, insight wisdom must be operative throughout.

 Once the Buddha has instructed the Kalamas, who were inhabitants of Kesaputta, a town in the kingdom of Kosala, on an appropriate attitude towards the religious beliefs. He said
“Do not accept anything on mere hearsay, nor by mere tradition, nor on account of rumours, nor just because it accords with your scriptures, nor by mere suppositions, nor by mere inference, nor by merely considering the appearances,nor merely because it agrees with your preconceived notions, nor merely because it seems acceptable, nor thinking that the recluse is our teacher.”

And then the Buddha had further instructed the Kalamas to consider everything by themselves carefully. He said

“When you yourselves know that these things are bad; these things are these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed; these things lead to harm and ill; abandon them. And in contradiction, when you yourselves know that these things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; these things, undertaken and observed, lead to benefit and happiness, enter on and abide in them.”
[Kalamasutta]
 

09. Buddhist Teachings

Is it true that Buddhism are taught to be tolerant of other opinions, beliefs, customs or behaviour different from their own?

Yes, Buddhists are taught to be broadminded but not to believe in anything easily before investigation or proper consideration. Moreover, Buddhists are taught to diffuse the Four Divine States of Mind: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity towards all sentient beings who may be of different nationalities, religions or environments.

 

10. Happy without Religion?

Could we live happily without believing in any religion?

Yes, we can. If happiness means physical well-being, then a person can be happy without believing in any particular religion. A human being consists of two major aspects: body and mind. To have a fully developed and happy life, one needs to nourish both body and mind. In this case religion can provide the guidance and the path to develop the mind and spirit along with the body.

11. Form of Practice in Buddhism

Is there any particular form of practice in Buddhism?

According to Buddhism, everyone is free to consider and investigate Buddhist teaching before acceptance. Even after acceptance one is free to select any particular part of the teaching to put into practice.

 The Buddha has given various practical formats suitable to the people of different tastes and tendencies.

1. Avoidance all evils, fulfillment of good and purification one’s own mind.
2. Generosity, morality and mind development (development of tranquillity and insight.)
3. Morality, concentration and wisdom. (A brief form of the noble path leading to the cessation of suffering.)

12. Five Precepts

What are the results of the practice of the Five Precepts?

 The Five Precepts are not laws but self-training rules that lead to moral practices and right behaviour. Since one does not live alone, living in society requires self-awareness, self-control, adaptability, non-violent attitude and good-will.

 The Five Precepts are to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and intoxicants which carelessness. One should be kind, honest and mindful. Then our society will reach the goal that persons can live together peacefully and in mutual trust.
 

13. Buddhist Way of Life

How should one live the Buddhist way of life?

To live the Buddhist way of life one should avoid doing evil, perform wholesome acts and purify one’s own mind.

The “don’t and do” moral principles of the Buddhist way of life are as follows:
 1. To abstain from killing, and develop loving-kindness and compassion to all living beings.
 2. To abstain from stealing, and develop right means of livelihood.
 3. To abstain from sexual misconduct, and develop restraint of the senses.
 4. To abstain from lying, and develop truthful speech.
 5. To abstain from intoxicants, and develop restraint and mindfulness.

The more one can observe the above Five Precepts and Five Virtues, the more happy and peaceful life one will achieve.

Furthermore, trying to purify one’s own mind from greed, hatred, and delusion step-by-step in daily life is the ideal way for all Buddhists.
 

14. Role of Monks

Is there any Buddhist teachings that monks should have a role of serving society in addition to teaching Dhamma?

The history of Buddhism tells us that when the Buddha convened his first group of 60 disciples before sending them on the missionary work, He instructed them to go separately on a journey for the gain of the many, for happiness of the many, and for helping the world. This shows that the Buddha advised his disciples to serve society. The serving should be done appropriately to the status of the monk. To put the teaching into practice, to make oneself an example, and to teach the people are the main functions of Buddhist monks. Usually monasteries are the centres of communities and social welfare. In case of various disasters, monks will extend their helping hands to the people as much as possible. To serve society in the way of charity or other social work is also allowed for monks, providing it does not contradict the monastic rule.

15. Meditation

Is it justified for a Buddhist to believe he could be a real Buddhist only through meditation, and to discard all concerns about serving society?

To be a real Buddhist is just to take the Triple Gem as one’s guide, that is to say, if anyone puts his or her faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, he or she is regarded as a Buddhist. This is according to the answer of the Buddha to Prince Mahanama’s question about being a Buddhist.

There is an advice for progress in practice called the Basis of Merit Making as taught by the Buddha as follows:
1. Charity or generosity (Dana),
2. Morality (Sila), and 
3. Development of Meditation which is of two kinds, namely: tranquillity of the mind and spiritual insight. (Bhavana)

From the above mentioned principle it is clear that charity and serving society in the way of giving a helping hand and other spiritual practices are regarded as the additional (practices) of being a Buddhist.

 

16. Monks Robes

Why do monks wear patched robes?

Buddhist monks are homeless and do not have any valuable personal belongings. Originally they had to collect discarded pieces of cloth wherever they could be found, and wash and sew them together. Then the robe was dipped in natural dye from bark or the pith of a tree. The robes were mostly brownish in color. The different shades of the color did not signify the strictness of the wearers at the time of the Buddha, nor do they today.

Venerable Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and personal attendant, designed the robe at the request of the Buddha. The pattern of the robe was taken from the pattern of the paddy fields in the Magadha Kingdom. It was accepted by the Buddha and had become standardized since then.

In Thailand, usually the darker robed monks tend to be forest monks. However, there are some monks living in the city who also prefer wearing darker brown robes.

The reason why the Buddha accepted a patched robe was to distinguish monks’ robes from lay people’s clothing and to discourage thieves.

17. Alms Rounds

Why do monks go on alms rounds in the morning?

In order to appreciate this act, one needs to have a background understanding of Buddhist society, Buddhist society consists of four groups of people: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. Monks and nuns have left household life and have gone forth to spend time fully in the study and practice of Buddhist teaching. Once they are well fortified with study and practice, they are expected to teach the lay people and provide them with spiritual comfort and guidance.

Lay people, on the other hand, are householders who are still engaged in worldly activities. It is expected that able Buddhists should support the ordained ones by providing them with material requisites such as clothing, food and medicine. Buddhist societies are expected to work out with this compromise division of responsibilities.

When the monks go for alms round, from the monk’s point of view, they are to make available the opportunity for the lay people to make offering to the ordained ones who are the “field of merit”, worthy of offering. Also by taking care of the material needs of the ordained ones is a way to reinsure the stability of Buddhism and its institute on the one hand and also to uplift the lay peoples’ own practice on the other.

18. Loving Kindness

How is universal loving-kindness taught in Buddhism?

Loving-kindness (Metta) means extending goodwill or benevolence which is opposite to ill-will. Buddhism teaches that loving-kindness should be diffused to all sentient beings, be they human or non-human. If the world follows the teaching of diffusion of universal loving-kindness, conflicts may be solved not by confrontation but through peaceful means.

19. Buddhist Teachings

What is the Buddha's teachings about caste and colour?

There is no division of caste and color in Buddhism. In some countries, the caste system is a very important social structure. However, Buddhism is free from caste, racial and gender prejudices. Everyone has equal spiritual potential to attain enlightenment.

The Buddha explained that a man’s virtues or vices depend on his deeds, not his birth or wealth. One who comes to be ordained in Buddhism has equal rights such as the right to vote in meetings. The only difference is the order of seniority which goes according to the precedence in ordination.

Buddhism lays stress on human equality by pointing to the importance of knowledge and good conduct. Lord Buddha taught that one who is endowed with knowledge and good conduct is excellent among divine and human beings.

20. Merit making

What is the real meaning of "merit making"?

Literally speaking, the word ‘merit’ is translated from Pali Punna a which means "purification": To make merit is to cleanse greed, hatred and delusion from one’s mind. The Buddha taught His followers to make merit by means of charity (Dana), morality (Sila) and spiritual development (Bhavana). When we know the real meaning of "merit making" in Buddhism as described above we can decide for ourselves that there are many ways and means to make merit. At any moment in one’s daily life, even while sitting comfortably on a chair, trying to cleanse greed, hatred, delusion or other mental defilements from one’s mind is also reckoned as making merit.

 


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