Katina ceremony at DFW Buddhist vihara will be held on November 21st 2015 at the temple premises. We are expecting about 25 monks to participate and an overnight pirith sermon. You can sign up for contributions using the sign up sheet. You may read about the merits of participating in this ceremony below.
Katina refers to the offering of the special robe (Katina sivara) prepared and presented to monks who have completed the three month period of retreat called Vas in Sinhala, and Vassana in Pali, meaning the period of rain. Katina literally means ‘firm,’ or ‘solid,’ because the offering of a Katina robe helps to earn solid good karma. The Katina Ceremony is over 2500 years old. It is a monastic tradition preserved and observed by Buddhists all over the world because it is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire merit once a year.
The Katina robe is significant because during the three-month Vas period, Buddhist monks are required to remain fully dedicated to purifying themselves through the rigorous practice of meditation and moral conduct. As the monks end the retreat and come back to society, they become deservedly worthy of offering and veneration as ‘punnakkhetta’ or ‘field of merit’ to the fullest extent possible. A robe offered to such a monk potent with spirituality and dedication to religious living at this time, helps one to earn solid merit or good karma.
The offering of the Katina robe is considered immensely meritorious since it involves three months of preparation and dedication. The ceremony become important and meritorious because of the potency of the merit gathered during the period of retreat, both by the monks and the devotees. The Katina robe is symbolizes the successful culmination of the rainy retreat.
The main event in the Katina ceremony is the offering of the special robe known as the Katina-civara to the Sangha. This ceremony is meant to be performed with devotion and is an occasion of religious significance for Buddhists all over the world.
Offering of the Katina robe started during the time of the Buddha. A group of monks went to a place for retreat. At the conclusion of the retreat they returned to visit the Buddha. On the way they were caught in a heavy downpour of rain and one monk got more wet than the others. The Buddha seeing this monk, advised the monk to accept an extra robe as a Katina. The extra robe was always given to the one who needed it the most. There are many traditions and rituals of offering a piece of cloth to monks in the name of Katina.
Katina is the most significant merit making ceremony performed by Buddhist communities in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Vas is also the time for lay Buddhists to express their devotion and practice generosity by providing their temples with the requisites for maintaining the temples and the inhabitant monks. It is an important period for gathering merit for both the layman and the monks. During this period devotees are given the opportunity to learn the Dharma from the monks by listening to sermons, getting involved in dhamma discussions, participating in meditation programs, and listening to pirith chanting. It is a time to get blessings for good living by performing and participating in religious ceremonies. Monks help the community to lead a pure life, emphasizing the importance of practicing the Five Precepts and teachings of the Buddha.
More significantly Vas is a time to strengthen ties and form bonds between monks and the laity. As spiritual leaders, monks guide the lay people towards ways of resolving problems with compassion and understanding, thereby forming strong bonds with the community. Monks dwelling in one place during Vas have more time to communicate with the laity on a one to one basis. They get the opportunity to listen to the problems of the laity and provide solutions to live a stress free life.
For the above-mentioned reasons, the offering of the Katina robe is considered one of the greatest meritorious deeds. Whatever else is offered to a monk on Katina day is also considered meritorious on this special day. It is even said that one who offers a Katina robe, to a monk who has observed the spiritual guidance given by the Buddha with diligence and commitment, even on a single occasion in his lifetime, would in samsara when he is born over and over again-never be in want or destitution and never to be reduced to rags for want of clothes.