Vas Season is the Rainy season.
Observing Vas (Rains) retreat is to stay in a single place and practice the Dhamma. The Rains Retreat was not practised during the first era of the Buddhas dispensation. Out of compassion for people, the Sangha wandered around the country even during the rainy season. But the followers of other religions criticised the Sangha because of that As a result, the Blessed One imposed that the Sangha should stay in one place during the rainy season for 3 months Invitation to the Rains Retreat On Esala full moon Poya day, the devotees will offer Dahath, Medicinal Beverages, Flowers, Oil lamps, etc and invite the Maha Sangha to observe the Rains retreat as follows
Dear Bhante, During the next 3 months of the Rainy season
Out of compassion for us, please observe the Rains Retreat in this monastery.
We will support you with the four requisites.
Then the devotees will offer Vasi Salu (bathing cloths) to the Maha Sangha. After accepting the invitation, the Sangha, out of respect for the Buddha’s word, and out of compassion towards the lay devotees, will determine to observe the Rains Retreat in that monastery.
Attending to the Sangha during the Rains retreat
While recalling how the Buddhas, Private Buddhas & Arahants were attended to in the past the devotees will prepare lodgings for the Sangha. They will collect merit by preparing waking paths, alms halls and other parts of the monastery for the Sangha to have seclusion. The devotees will assume to offer Dana to the Sangha during the retreat. By offering morning and noon meals, evening medicinal drinks, and attending to the Sangha, they will collect merit. During the Rains retreat, devotees will visit the monastery in the evenings and regularly make offerings, and engage in meritorious activities. such as worshipping the Buddha & the Bodhi tree. They learn Dhamma through the company of the Sangha. They develop qualities like having fear and shame towards demerits Looking forward to develop in this life and the next, they learn the Dhamma heedfully. Devotees engage in Dhamma Sakacha (Discuss about the Dhamma). Remove the doubts that they might have. On the 4 moons phases, there are special Dhamma sermons take place
People observe 8 precepts (Uposatha Sila) and 10 precepts regularly They also make merit taking care of the Sangha if they become sickly. Because the rains retreat is a serene time to associate the Sangha closely, People make the most of attending to the Buddha and the Sangha at that time The Robes Month (Chivara Month) Between the months of October and November is the time the Katina Robe offering events take place. During the Buddha’s time, after the rains retreat, a group of monks came to worship the Buddha. They came amidst the heavy rains, wet and muddy with torn robes. At that moment, for the well-being of the Sangha, the Buddha allowed monks to have Katina Robes.
“Anujanami bhikkhave vassam vuttanam kathinamattaritum”Maha Vagga Pali
“Monks, after the rains retreat monks are allowed to receive Katina Robes
In the past, old clothes that were left in cemeteries were used to make robes Presently, using a pure white cloth to be sown well and dyed is very suitable. From the homes of the lay devotees, the Katina Robes is respectfully brought to the monastery through Perahara. It is offered to the Sangha saying:
“Imam katina dusam bhikkhu sanghasa dema”
The Benefits of Offering Katina Robes
The word “Katina” is defined as a hard, callous, indestructible, unbreakable wholesome merit Katina is an assured merit that cannot be destroyed or provoked. In the presence of Gautama Buddha, Arahant Nagita revealed the benefits He received by offering a Katina Robe, 91 aeons ago, during Vippassi Buddha’s time. By offering a Katina Robe to the virtuous Maha Sangha, He was not reborn in a bad destination for 30 aeons for 18 aeons, he enjoyed divinely comfort 34 times, he was born as Lord Sakka, Lord of Gods He became a Wheel Turning Monarch for every stitch he made to sew the robe It is not possible to count the number of times he recieved great lands He did not lack anything wherever he was born, he was endowed with every form of comfort and happiness. He was always highly respected by others. He recieved all forms of transport He would recieve any clothing he desired no matter where he was. So, may everyone take advantage of this great merit! May everyone realize the Dhamma in this Gautama Buddha’s Dispensation!
May the Triple Gem Bless You! Namo Buddhaya!