A Time for Change
Last night was the last game at the local high school football stadium which opened in 1937. They are tearing this one down and building another one closer to the school. Of course, to commemorate this end of an era, they had a fireworks display light up the night sky at the end of the game.
Coincidentally, this time also marks the end of another, albeit shorter, era known as Vassa – or “Rains retreat”. Also known as Pavarana Day or Sangha Day, it is usually observed around the full moon of October.
During Vassa, Buddhist monks and nuns usually stay in a certain place (to get out of the rainy season, hence “Rains retreat”) and take some time for the study and practice of Dhamma-vinaya (or “teachings and discipline”).
After Vassa, and during Pavarana, the monks and nuns may begin to “go forth” and travel again, after asking the Sangha (the “community” of monks and nuns) to advise, counsel, and/or reproof them for any fault “seen, heard or suspected” so that they could “amend their ways” and improve in the future. Pavarana is also a day of celebration, when the limitations adopted during the Vassa season are relaxed.
It is in the following month, after Pavarana, that the kathina ceremony is held. During this time the laity gather to make formal offerings of robe cloth and various other requisites to the monks and nuns of the Sangha.