If you live in northern California, please consider supporting the bhikkhunis at Aloka Vihara with their tenth anniversary Kathina Ceremony
Sunday October 27th
Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery 2409 Tolowa Trail, Placerville, CA 95667
10am ~ Arrive & Optional Tour of Aloka Vihara
11am ~ *Meal Offering (please bring a ready-to-serve vegetarian dish to share)
1-4pm ~ Kathina Ceremony & 10th Anniversary Celebration
What is a Kathina ceremony?
A Kathina (robe offering ceremony) is a traditional Buddhist ceremony that allows lay supporters to express their support and gratitude toward the monastery and its monastics, through meritorious acts of generosity (monetary and/or material donations to the monastery). It is particularly important and auspicious that we are supporting Bhikkhunis on this day and supporting the right of women to have equal access on the monastic path.
Typically, the sponsors of the ceremony offer a single robe as a symbol of the lay community’s support of the monastic way of life. A Kathina Ceremony celebrates the sublime virtue of ‘dana’ (generosity) and the symbiotic relationship between monastics and lay people, with the laity supporting the material needs of the monastics, and the monastics supporting the spiritual needs of the lay people.
The intention of both the Kathina and the Almsgiving Ceremony is the same: an opportunity for lay people to offer financial and material support to monastics in a formal way.
An Almsgiving Ceremony can be offered at any time of the year, while the Kathina can only happen during the month following the Vassa or “Rains” retreat. For a ‘Kathina [cloth] to be spread’ (i.e., for the cloth to be spread in order to be sewn into a robe) there has to be at least one bhikkhuni resident in the monastery throughout the Vassa and a minimum of five bhikkhunis must be present for the Kathina Ceremony.
Once the Kathina cloth is offered, it must be sewn into a robe and formally offered to one of the bhikkhunis who has been resident throughout the Vassa. This entire process must be completed before dawn of the day following the ceremony.
The Kathina Ceremony takes place within 4 weeks of the completion of the Vassa (“Rains” retreat). It doesn’t rain in California like it did in India in the time of the Buddha, but the Vassa is observed during the summer months here in any case, with the Kathina or Almsgiving Ceremony held sometime in the fall.