Shravasti: Kalon. Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, Department of Religion and Culture, CTA participated in the historic festival of reviving the Vassavasa and offering the Kathina Civara Dana at the sacred place of Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh.
Kathina, a traditional Buddhist festival which is celebrated after the end of the rains-retreat (vassāvāsa) is being observed at Shravasti after hundreds of years of Mahaparinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha. According to Vinaya, the ceremony of Kathina was first observed in Shravasti during the time of Buddha.
The Commentaries state that the Buddha hosted 25 vassa retreats in Shravasti, thus, spending the greater part of his monastic life in Shravasti.
A host of dignitaries and sangha members including His Excellency Moe Kyaw, Ambassador of Myanmar, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Dr. Dammapiya, General Secretary IBC, Ven. Bukkhu Sanghasena, Founder of Mahabodhi International Meditation Center. Prof Wangchuk Dorjey Negi, Bikkhu Ananda, General Secretary of Mahabodhi and Bikkhu Pamokkha, Chief Abbot of Vassa, and many respected guests from Korea and Malaysia were present at the event.
Addressing the auspicious gathering, Kalon Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok said, ”My warmest greetings from Dharamshala, the exile abode of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration.”
“On this auspicious day of the successful conclusion of the three-month rainy season retreat (vassāvāsa) and Kathina ceremony in accordance with the Vinaya teaching of the All-knowing Buddha Shakyamuni, it is simply wonderful and immensely auspicious to host such a sacred event at the most sacred place of Shravasti where the Buddha Shakyamuni was known to have stayed for 25 vassa retreats.”
“In this connection, I would like to sincerely and wholeheartedly congratulate and thank Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche and the Drikung Kagyu Institute for making such a historical event possible. It is a great feeling and experience to see the union of Buddhist Sangya members from different Buddhist traditions coming together for a common cause.”
Kalon concluded by saying, “We must work further and more intensively on this collective and united effort.”
Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche, in his remarks, said, “It is a blessed moment to be here at this great place because this place has hosted Buddha and his followers in the past.”
Rinpoche reflected on the significance of reviving the Vassavasa and Kathina Dana, and said: “Buddha and his community lived here in this place most of the time and more than eight hundred seventy sutras taught here in this place. In addition, the exact time is not mentioned but we are sure that 90 per cent of the Vinaya instruction was taught here in this place as well. And the very first Kathina also taught here in this place.”
Rinpoche congratulated the participants and expressed gratitude to everyone who contributed to the success of the Vassa and Kathina.
With the blessings of Drikung Rinpoche, the event was organised by Great Shravasti Vassa Organising Committee.