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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Buddhism, The Kathin Season Arrives in Northeast Thailand

The Kathin season  is one of my favorite times of year in Isaan. First of all, with luck, the weather will start to cool and in another month or so the Haads and Kaengs, beaches and rapids, will start to appear as the water level drops in the Mekhong River.
And for the Forest Monks it is as close as it gets to Christmas as the lay community offers food, clothing, shelter and medicine the four requisites to the Bhikkhu Sangha.
As nearly every monastery hosts a Kathin Day monks of different wats come to visit and see old friends that they have not seen in at least 3 months sometimes longer. For communities like the monks from Luangta Maha Boowa's or Luang Por Chah and many other of the students of Ajahn Mun The final Kathin of the season is held at the main wat and 100s of monks and 1,000s of people participate.
Back in 2005 thru 2007 I spent many a day or week throughout the year at Wat Hin Mahk Ping in Nong Khai, with Ajahn Sompop at his monastery in Sakon Nakhon and especially with Ajahn Tongjuan in Amnat Choroen.
It was there that I spent the Kathin of 2006 and as you can see in the video slide show it was quite a party. Being a Forest Wat in the lineage of Ajahn Mun the requisites offered were in keeping with that tradition. All things were only those things necessary for a simple monastic life and no money or plastic, Buddhist Store, buckets were in sight. Moderation and simplicity Buddhism does still exist in the Forest Wats of Thailand.