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photos by Ranjith Wijayasekara

This ritual falls back to the sixth century C E in India, while Buddha was spreading His knowledge, ‘Dhamma’ to the world through His disciples, ‘Bhikkhus’. Intensity of monsoon rain for three months made life severe for everybody especially the Bhikkhus who walked around spreading Dhamma and begging for food, Pindapatha. Leaders of other religious cults started criticising the Bhikkhus saying disciples of Gauthama (Buddha) disturbs the new life emerging from earth during rainy season by moving around.

Buddha proclaimed to Bhikkhus to remain indoors during the rainy season. The laity undertook to provide basic necessities to sustain to Bhikkhus who spent the retreat season meditating and enlightening them.

At the end of rainy season laity made a saffron robe and offered to the most deserving Bhikkhu. During this period the cloths were very rare and Bhikkhus had to collect discarded pieces of cloches from places like cemeteries and stitch them together to make a full robe.

(The tell tale pattern of a Buddhist monks robe still depict this ancient pattern.) Hence giving a full robe is considered an act which has tremendous merits. It is this very noble act the devotees of Lankarama did on Saturday.

The saffron cloth for the robe (In most traditional Buddhist countries this is a white cloth dyed later to saffron at the temple) brought in a colourful procession over the heads of devotees under a saffron coloured canopy, presented to ‘Maha Sanga’, gathering of Bhikkhus. It was then passed on to laity for stitching to make the robe. Bikkhus present will decide the most appropriate Bikkhu to receive the robe. The chosen will wear the robe and deliver a sermon (Katina Anisansa Bana) highlighting the merits of this act in the days evening bringing the ceremony to end.

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Sri Express
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Sri Express
photos by Ranjith Wijayasekara

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