The Buddhist Lent or Rains Retreat, known as “Vassa” in Pali, where monks and novices will stay in a monastery, only venturing out during the day (if at all) and always returning to the same temple. In cases of extreme emergency staying outside the temple is permitted, but their time away must not exceed seven consecutive nights. Monks will spend this period engaging in intense study of the scriptures, contemplation and meditation. Khao Pansa lasts a period of 3 months.
Tradition states that the Buddha advised the monks not to venture out during this period, as the rains not only makes travel inconvenient, small insects and animals would be washed out by the rain, and travelling monks would often unwittingly step on these creatures, killing them in the process. Instead, the disciples should dwell together and practice as a community. Such retreats proved to be beneficial, providing more time for teaching and guidance for the monks.« Back to Glossary Index