Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kaṭhina-civara ceremony at Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (Deemed University)

A group of Tai Khamti Buddhist Community of Arunachal Pradesh celebrated Kaṭhina-civara function with monks, nuns, faculty and students of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (Deemed University) and community of Nalanda.  
More than 30 lay Buddhist men and women under the Mrs. Protima Longphong from Arunachal Pradesh participated in the ceremony. The robe prepared by them was then offered to the Saṅgha of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara.

Khamti ladies preparing looms for weaving Chivara

Khamti women preparing warp and weft

Khamti men  playing traditional music

Weaving in progress

Kaṭhina robe developed by Khamti group being offered to  the Saṅgha of NNM

The Saṅgha of NNM offering the Kaṭhina robe to selected monk 

The Tradition of Kaṭhina-civara
The word 'Kaṭhina' is Pali in origin that means a frame used in weaving robes. The ‘Kaṭhina’ also means difficult, grave, profound, pure or stable. This is very special ceremony and rare occasion to accumulate more merits for both monastic (venerable monks and nuns) and the devotees.

The Pali literature states that the tradition of vassā (a rainy season retreat) was instituted at Veḷuvana (Rājgir) by the Buddha. The three-month rainy season was used as a retreat period, during which the monks would stay in one location and avoid any travel. The aim was to prevent the monks from damaging any crops and small insects while walking through the damp fields as the roads were expected to be flooded.   The rainy season retreat was quickly adopted as an annual custom, a time for reflection, contemplation and meditation. 
The month followed by the end of the vassā season is known as the civara māsa in Theravada tradition which literally means the month of offering the Kaṭhina robe.
According to the Vinaya rules, the offering is done in the first instance by the lay followers who bring the cloth to the vihāra and then offered to the Saṅgha. After preparing the robe in a proper way, the Saṅgha then gather in a specific place call ‘sīmā’ (space in which all local monk community have to assemble as a complete saṅgha) or chapter house according to the code of discipline and decide to hand over it to the monk who has completed the vassā retreat successfully at that particular vihāra. In this way there are two stages of process of offering; first to the Saṅgha by lay followers, and then the Saṅgha offers the robe to the monk who successfully observed the rainy-retreat. In this manner, both the monks and lay followers can accumulate lot of merits out of this Kaṭhina robe offering ceremony.
All the gifts offered by the devotees on the day of Kaṭhina celebration valid meritoriously same as the offering of Kaṭhina robe. It is said even if you offer a tread or a needle or even one penny to the Saṅgha today; you are able to possess as much merit as you offer the Kaṭhina robe.

The Kaṭhina-civara function was followed by 
5th Sāriputta World Peace Walk. 

As mentioned in Buddhist literature Venerable Sāriputta attained parinirvāṇa on Kārtika Pūrṇimā (full moon day — October-November). Nava Nalanda Mahavihara since 2010 has been organizing the Peace Walk to give befitting tribute to this son of the soil. 

Students of Nalanda Heritage School leading the Walk

Venerable Monks and Nuns


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