Buddhist Lent ends with solemn religious tradition

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Young worshippers pray at Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya, marking the end of Buddhist Lent on Tuesday, Oct. 30.  Pattaya area residents joined the rest of the Buddhist world in celebrating Auk Pansaa by going to local temples for merit-making and commemorating Buddha’s descent from heaven via a staircase of crystal, silver and gold.

Pattaya-area Buddhists marked the end of Buddhist Lent by going to local temples for merit-making and commemorating Buddha’s descent from heaven via a staircase of crystal, silver and gold.

Auk Pansaa, which fell on Oct. 30, ends the three-month “rains retreat” monks make inside their temple so as not to trample rice crops during the rainy season.

Young worshippers pray at Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya, marking the end of Buddhist Lent on Tuesday, Oct. 30.  Pattaya area residents joined the rest of the Buddhist world in celebrating Auk Pansaa by going to local temples for merit-making and commemorating Buddha’s descent from heaven via a staircase of crystal, silver and gold. Young worshippers pray at Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya, marking the end of Buddhist Lent on Tuesday, Oct. 30.  Pattaya area residents joined the rest of the Buddhist world in celebrating Auk Pansaa by going to local temples for merit-making and commemorating Buddha’s descent from heaven via a staircase of crystal, silver and gold.

It traditionally is followed the next day by ‘Tak Baht Devo’, the Buddhist merit-making ritual that is performed on the final day of the festival, which signals the end of the Buddhist Lent.

The word ‘Devo’ originates from the word “Devorohana” and refers to Buddhist celebrations marking the special occasion of the return of the Lord Buddha to earth, as mentioned in ancient Buddhist tales. This year it was celebrated on Oct. 31.

Pattaya residents celebrated the holy weekend by listening to sermons, presenting alms to monks and releasing birds for good luck at all area temples. Together they prayed and paid respect to images of their lord.

The merit-making continued for Devorohana, with believers offering sticky rice wrapped with banana or coconut leaves to monks before settling in to hear the story of how Buddha returned to earth after delivering a sermon for his mother in the Tawatimsa Heaven.

According to Buddhist lore, Buddha’s mother died when he was very young and, unlike his aunt who raised him, never received the benefit of his teachings. She was destined to live for eons in the Tawatimsa Heaven before being reincarnated and continuing her path toward enlightenment. The lord took pity on her and decided to ascend to heaven to deliver a sermon that would deliver her into enlightenment quickly.

Following the sermon, the deities who protect all Buddhist temples paid respect to Lord Buddha by constructing a stairway of gold, silver and crystal to facilitate his return to earth. His journey down those stairs and the scene of thousands of heavenly beings paying homage to him along the way serve as the basis of the Devorohana ceremony.

Citizens offer specially made Kaotom Hang or tailed sticky rice wrapped to the monks at the Devo ceremony on Wednesday October 31 morning. Citizens offer specially made Kaotom Hang or tailed sticky rice wrapped to the monks at the Devo ceremony on Wednesday October 31 morning.

At Wat Chaiyamongkol in South Pattaya, worshippers gathered to listen to Phra Mahapichet Rattanapunyo who reminded them to show gratitude and respect to their parents who raised them with love and care, and who should be cared for during old age.

At Wat Nong Or in Central Pattaya, Abbot Pravet Dhammawaro told worshippers, “As you sow, so you shall reap”, saying that people should realize their mistakes and to turn to themselves, opting to solve their problems by relying on intellect. He also reminded people that it isn’t necessary to stop practicing the precepts at the end of lent, and that they could continue throughout the year.

Buddhists pray for prosperity to oneself and family.Buddhists pray for prosperity to oneself and family.

Citizens deliver food and necessities to Phra Mahapichet Rattanapunyo, abbot of Wat Chaiyamongkol.Citizens deliver food and necessities to Phra Mahapichet Rattanapunyo, abbot of Wat Chaiyamongkol.

Buddhists visit local temples for merit-making and worshipping on Auk Pansaa.Buddhists visit local temples for merit-making and worshipping on Auk Pansaa.

Outside the temples, vendors make sure people who want to make merit have something to donate to the monks in their favorite temple.Outside the temples, vendors make sure people who want to make merit have something to donate to the monks in their favorite temple.

Buddhists worship Lord Buddha with flowers, incense and candles asking for blessing and for prosperity.Buddhists worship Lord Buddha with flowers, incense and candles asking for blessing and for prosperity.

Monks at Wat Chaiyamongkol chant prayers and receive offerings in return.Monks at Wat Chaiyamongkol chant prayers and receive offerings in return.

Happy volunteers create sticky rice wrapped with banana and/or coconut leaves in Sattahip.Happy volunteers create sticky rice wrapped with banana and/or coconut leaves in Sattahip.