A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Kaṭhina Cibar Dan (কঠিন চীবর দান, Kahtein, ကထိန်, Kathen, កថិន, Kathin กฐิน, Kuh-htay, ကထ့ၢ်). Start in Bangladesh of the annual Buddhist festival to 19 November at the end of Vassa, the three-month Rainy Season retreat for Theravada Buddhists. It is observed by Bangladeshi Buddhists, Burmese, Cambodians, Karen Buddhists, Lao, Sri Lankans, Malaysian Siamese, Thais and Indian Theravada Buddhists. The season during which a monastery may hold Kathina is one month long, beginning at the full moon of the eleventh month in the Lunar calendar. This is a time of giving, for the laity to express gratitude to bhikkhus (Buddhist monks) and for lay Buddhists to take donations to the temples, especially new robes for the monks and attha parikara (atapirikara, අටපිරිකර), the Eight Requisites allowed to a monk, which include three yellow, orange or ochre robes (the lower loincloth, the upper inner robe and the large top robe), an alms bowl, a razor to shave the head, a needle for mending clothes, a water strainer and a cloth girdle. Kathina is a Pali word referring to the wooden frame used to measure the length and width by which the robes of Buddhist monks are cut. The legend is that thirty bhikkhus were journeying to spend Vassa with Gautama Buddha but the rains began before they reached their destination and they had to stop at Saketa (Ayodhya) eighty miles east of Lucknow. Buddha’s guidelines for Vassa mendicant monks were that they should not travel during the rainy season as they might unintentionally harm crops or insects during their journey. The bhikkhus passed their time together without conflict and practised the Dhamma to overcome dissatisfaction and suffering, so the Buddha rewarded them by demonstrating a way to practise sharing and generosity. A lay disciple had previously donated pieces of cloth to the Buddha, so the Buddha now gave the pieces to the group of monks and told them to make it into a robe and then offer it as a gift to one of their number. A frame (kathina) was used to hold the pieces whilst they were being made into a robe. Although one-fifth of those practising Buddhism in Malaysia are of the Mahayana tradition, a 2009 emergence of the Theravada tradition from Thailand in the North and Sri Lanka in the South has started the tradition of the observance of Vassa in many Buddhist temples in Malaysia, starting on the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The choice of the date of the Kathina celebration may vary from temple to temple. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
Conferment of the Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib. Sikh celebration of the anniversary of the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s 1708 declaration that, instead of having another human Guru, Sikhs would regard the Guru Granth Sahib scripture as their Guru. Thus was the guruship passed to the holy Guru Granth Sahib, which comprises 1,430 pages of hymns and is supreme in shining the Light of Truth on all Sikhs or devotees who seek it. Image: vedictribe.com.
Santa Iria de Tomar (St Irene of Tomar) (c635-c653). Feast Day for beautiful Portuguese Christian virgin nun who was martyred for her faith in Visigoth Portugal. She was born into an influential family in Nabancia (Tomar) and her parents, wishing to protect her, sent her to a convent school and a private tutor. The only times she left her house were to attend Mass or pray at the sanctuary of St Peter. A young nobleman saw her and at once fell in love with her. Every time she left to go to church, he would follow her. Eventually he came forward with his proposal to court her but Irene made it clear that she would never marry him. When he became depressed, Irene explained that the reason for her celibacy was that she had given herself to God as a nun. Her tutor monk made improper advances to her and, when she declined, resigned and spread vicious rumours about her. When asked why he was no longer tutoring the girl, he replied that he had left upon having learned that she was pregnant and he gave her a drink that made her abdomen swell so that she appeared pregnant. Eventually, the nobleman learned of her supposed infidelity and hired a mercenary soldier to kill her. As Irene was returning home from visiting an elderly disabled man, the assassin approached her from behind and killed her with a single stroke of his sword. Her body was thrown into River Nabão and Benedictines later recovered it uncorrupted from the river forty miles away in Scalabis ater her uncle, an abbot, received from Christ a revelation about the true story of his niece and the location of her body. The monks gave Irene a proper burial and spread her cultus, the name of Scalabis being changed to Santarém (St Irene). Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Patron of Tomar, Portugal, Santarém, Santa Iria de Azóia, Loures, raped and murdered women, women falsely accused, maligned by rumour or falsely accused of impiety and unchaste behaviour, those who trusted men who then abused that trust and young studious girls who wish to learn even until their death. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
Prayer In time, even Irene’s existence has come to be doubted, suggesting that she never existed, that her life was mere legend or myth, that she was invented to fulfil a need or fantasy. Thus in death as in life she is abused. Yet a Saint will endure. A Saint will not be denied. A Saint will find a way. Amen