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Join us to celebrate
Sunday 13 November 2016
Kathina Robe Offering Day
The three months of the Asian monsoon commencing from the full moon day of August, are the time when Theravada Buddhist monks observe their Lent retreat -- a time of intensified practice when the monks must reduce their travelling commitments in order to spend more time focussing inwardly. The Buddhist lay community believe that the monks who have undertaken the Lent retreat vows are a particularly worthy field of merit and celebrate the end of Lent by ceremonies showing special support for the monastic community -- with activities to mark the last day of the retreat and also renewing the monks robes within a month of the end of the retreat. Following the age old Buddhist traditions, Wat Phra Dhammakaya (Manchester) is organizing a Kathina Robe Offering ceremony on 13 November 2016.

Merit - the Hidden Factor behind all Happiness & Prosperity in Life
An overview of "merit"
Merit is a sort of positive energy which arises in the mind each time we think, speak or act in a wholesome way, namely based on the intention:

  1. to abstain from unwholesome thought, speech or action
  2. to have wholesome thought, speech or action
  3. to purify the mind to radiance

When merit arises in the mind it has the power to transform the mind in the following ways:

  1. making it radiant, pure and free of unwholesome thought
  2. filling it with the inspiration to do wholesome deeds
  3. disposing one to success and fulfilment in skilful tasks
  4. bringing happiness and prosperity

The idea of a Buddhist merit-making ceremony is to store up merit in the minds of the participants to replace the merit that is depleted as we go through life.

Storing up merit in one's mind The moment we think, speak or act in a wholesome way, merit immediately arises in our mind. There are many ways in which merit can be accrued, and those relevant to the upcoming ceremonies are as follows -- generosity, through keeping the Precepts and through the practising meditation.

Merit arising from generosity Merit can be accrued as the result of one's generosity because it involves "letting go" and overcoming one's selfishness. It means that one feels joy to bring happiness to others to be motivated to want to give in the first place because it is said that the one who gives serves others. Those who are generous will be approachable by all and popular. They will be praised by the wise. Thus the many sorts of generosity in a Buddhist ceremony, cause merit to arise in the mind of those involved, wherever in the world they might be. Especially with the giving of alms or robes for the monks whenever those contributing such funds stop to reflect on their generous intention merit immediately will arise in their mind. The same goes for all who help out with the ceremony even behind the scenes. All these have vast stores of merit available which can be dedicated for the benefit of the departed.

Merit arising from the Offering of 'Picked-up' Robes or Kathina Robes
The monk's vow of poverty allows them to possess only the basic requisites of life and these must be used with full consideration as a part of the monastic training allowing the monks to teach and be an example to others in society. Robes are offered to the monks by the laypeople out of respect for the monks as the teachers of ethics to others in society. Giving robes at the end of Lent is also 'time limited' thus the merit of such a gift will help our own wishes to be fulfilled in a timely manner.

Merit arising from keeping the Precepts Keeping the Precepts earns merit by helping the world to be more harmonious and through forgoing selfishness in that by keeping them one refrains from taking advantage of the weaknesses of others thereby giving them peace of mind whenever they are in your presence. Keeping the Precepts means abstaining from thinking about, speaking about or treating other people or animals in five unwholesome ways by:

  1. protecting the lives of other beings by not killing
  2. protecting the possessions of others by not stealing
  3. protecting the spouses, children and family integrity of others by not having sexual relationships outside marriage
  4. protecting the truth by never telling lies
  5. protecting ones conscience in regard to others by never imbibing alcohol or other mindfulness-undermining substances

 Merit arising from practising meditation
The practise of meditation includes calming the mind, listening to chanting, spreading loving-kindness. Recollecting the virtues that make you feel good about yourself help the mind to feel more spacious and radiant, filling the mind with inspiration and merit.

Merit arising from listening to Buddhist Chanting Monks attending the ceremony chant Buddhist mantras in the ancient Buddhist scriptural language of Pali concerning the meritorious fruits of generosity, understanding which the listener can gain wisdom, learning about the reality of life, death and the world, becoming more radiant of mind, being protected from things threatening our happiness and prosperity.

Programme of Ceremonies
Kathina 13 November 2016
09.30 a.m. Instructed Meditation
10.30 a.m. Requesting the Five Precepts, Offering of the midday meal
10.45 a.m. Almsgiving (packaged food)
12.45 a.m. Kathina Procession
13.00 p.m. Kathina Robe Offering Ceremony
13.45 p.m. Dhamma Sermon/receive blessing
14.30 p.m. Receive souvenirs, End of ceremonies

Note: Please dress modestly in white or light coloured clothing