2018 Annual Kathina Robe offering for the Venerable Maha Sangha at “Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara” premises in Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, United States of America was held with the participation of Maha Sanga from Sri Lanka along with a huge gathering of Srilankan & overseas devotees on October 26 & 27, 2018. The ceremony had been gracefully organized under the guidance and patronage of the Most Venerable Aggamaha Pandita Dr. Walpola Piyananda Thero, the Chief Sangha Nayake Thero of America and President of USA & Canada Sangha Council, Chief Abbot & President of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, California, USA.
This year Kathina Robe was sponsored and offered to the Maha Sangha by jointly 30 families and devotees with deep devotion and Perehara Procession. Atapirikara (Eightfold Requisites) and requisites for the Maha Sangha and food were offered by devotees of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara. A large gathering of Venerable Maha Sangha representing Buddhist Temples in USA graced the ceremony.
“Kathina” is a Buddhist festival which comes at the end of Vassa, the three-month rainy season retreat for Theravada Buddhists in all over the world. It is a time of giving, for the laity to express gratitude to Maha Sangha. Lay Buddhists bring donations to temples, especially new robes for the monks. Kathina is a Pali word referring to the wooden frame used to measure the length and width by which the robes of Buddhist monks are cut. As the legend goes, thirty Monks were journeying with the intention of spending Vassa with Gautama Buddha. However, the rains began before they reached their destination and they had to stop at Saketa. According to Buddha’s guidelines for Vassa, mendicant monks shouldn’t travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops and or insects during their journey. As such, the monks had to stop.
The Monks passed their time together without conflict and practicing Dhamma so afterwards, the Buddha rewarded the monks by demonstrating a way to practice sharing and generosity. A lay disciple had previously donated pieces of cloth to the Buddha, so the Buddha now gave the pieces to the group of monks and told them to make it into a robe and then offer it as a gift to one of them. A frame, called a “Kathina”, was used to hold the pieces while they were being made into one robe.
The most significant part of the ceremony is the offering of a freshly tailored robe called “Kathina Robe” to the Maha Sangha by lay devotes. The Buddhists especially devote this Kathina ceremony day to the practice of Dana, generosity. This is a great opportunity for all to generate merit to improve the quality of their life in this life and future lives.
The Kathina Ceremony of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara brought many multi-cultural people together as ideal and friendly. Everyone inspired the happy, peaceful and uplifting atmosphere of the ceremony. It is a regarded as a great privilege to sponsor a Kathina Ceremony and it is one of the most meritorious deeds that lay followers can perform.
After the visit to Los Angeles, California, USA
Official Photographs by Isuru Madhushan