Significance of KATHINA - To view15th - 16th OCT 2011 Kathina Celebrations Program, please click here
In Pali "Kathina" literally means unshakeable or immovable. The merits accrued in offering this kind of robe is unshakeable by the other small demerits. Whenever the donors of Kathina Robe enjoy the results of theese meritorious deeds in Samsara, the other small demerits - except the Five Weighty Kammas - cannot interrupt or cannot shake its effect just like the great Earth or Mt. Meru cannot be shaken by the wind. Therefore, it is called "Kathina".
In Buddist countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, the annual offering of the Kathina Robe has assumed a great auspicious significance and this religious function receives even the Royal Patronage and favour. As such, devotees wait for this important annual occasion with great enthusiasm to take part in the celebration.
Kathina Robe annot be accepted by all monks. Only those monks who have received the Higher Ordination and observe the Vas - Rains Retreat for three months, can accept the Kathina Robe. Those who are novices, those who have broken the Vas and those who have ignored the observance of Vas are not eligible ot receive this Kathina Robe. The Kathina Robe also cannot be accepted by an individual monk. The donors offer the Robe to the Sangha - the Community of Monks. Therefore, according to the Vinaya - Disciplinary Rules, there must be at least five Higher Ordained monks to receive the Kathina Robe. After receiving the Robe, the Sangha will asseble in a Sima ( Chapter house for reciting Vinaya Rules) and unanimously choose an appropriate monk to receive this precious Robe.
A Bhikkhu who is bound by the numerious disciplinary rules in his life time, is also entitled to get a little relaxation or remission from a few minor rules, only for a few months after receving the Kathina Robe. The donors of the Kathina Robe will receive an immeasurable merit which will lead him to attain the Final Emancipation, after enjoying the heavenly and human bliss in Samsara. - Cyle of birth and death.
Unlike the other meritorious deeds, the offering of Kathina Robe cannot be performed at any time, but only within thirty days i.e. from the Full-Moon day of October to the Full Moon day of November, can this offering be done, Even on the same day and only in one place one Kathina Robe can be offered. Therefore, the offering of Kathina Robe is very rare significance and golden opportunity.
Devotees are encouraged to particpate in the Kathina ceremony.