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Katina Pinkama: One of the noblest religious activities of Buddhists | Saumya Amarasinghe

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The 22nd Annual Katina ceremony of Christchurch Samadhi Buddhist Vihara is held on the 24th and 26th of November, 2023. An overnight pirith (Buddhist chanting) ceremony is on the 24th, while the main event –Katina robe offering and alms giving to the monks– is on the 26th. The preparations are in full swing for the event by the Sponsoring group and the devotees of the Vihara. 

Katina Pinkama is a special ceremony held in Buddhist temples to mark the residing monks’ end of the rainy season sojourn (also called ‘Vas’ or ‘Vassana’). In ancient times, monks travelled preaching and teaching Dhamma and meditation from place to place. But during the rainy season, usually from July to October, the Buddha established the Vas retreat, allowing Monks to stay domiciled in one monastery. This sojourn is used by monks for the intensive practice of Dhamma and sharing the learnings with lay people. During Vassana, prominent groups of devotees would invite the monks to observe Vas at the beginning of the season (known as Vas Aradhana) and take care of the resident monks throughout the season. These practices are still carried on today with diligence and are regarded as highly meritorious. 

The special robe (Cheevara) is presented at the ceremony marking the end of the Vas (rainy) season. This robe is of utmost significance due to the length of preparations for getting it ready and because it is offered to a monk who completed the sojourn, dedicating time to purifying themselves through meditation and moral conduct. The robe becomes a Katina Cheevara, and the ceremony becomes a Katina Ceremony only if the monks and the devotees fulfil the necessary commandments set forth for the period. 

Through the Katina Pinkama, Buddhists honour the Buddha, uplift their spirits through the teachings of Dhamma, and embrace the noblest path—a journey of compassion, simplicity, and boundless merit. 

Samadhi Buddhist Vihara is the main Sri Lankan-based Buddhist temple in the South Island. It was established in 2002 with the support of Sri Lankans and other Buddhist well-wishers in New Zealand to fulfil the religious and spiritual aspirations of the Buddhist community. There are currently five resident monks at the temple led by Ven Makuldeniye Somarathana. The temple celebrates major Buddhist events such as Vesak (in May) and Poson (in June), and conducts activities that include monthly seela programmes (observing Sil), weekly meditation programmes, and weekend cultural school for children, among others.

The devotees of Samadhi Buddhist Vihara are extending an open invitation to all of you to participate in this highly meritorious event on 26 November from 8.30 am onwards at Samadhi Buddhist Vihara, 358 Maddisons Road, Rolleston

(Photos: Samadhi Buddhist Vihara Facebook page)
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