Kathina fest in a cave

DEVOTEES came from as far as Singapore and Thailand for the Kathina festival at the Dhamma Piti Meditation Monastery in Ipoh.

The Buddhist festival was held recently at the end of vassa, the three-month rainy season retreat by monks from the Theravada tradition.

To hold a Kathina, a monastery must have had five monks in residence during the retreat.

Busloads of devotees, including those from Johor Baru, Penang, Singapore and Thailand, arrived at the cave monastery, located near Gunong Lang, as early as 7am.

Many brought along specially prepared food as offerings to the monks.

A pinapata (alms offering) was held at 9am outside the cave with devotees offering dry rations to the 46 monks who attended the Kathina.

Devotees who lined the path outside the cave also had a chance to touch the Kathina cloth shown to them by two helpers to acquire merits.

The function than moved back into the cave where the devotees chanted salutations to the Triple Gems ( Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha), asked for forgiveness and then presented the Kathina cloth which would later be cut and sewn into a robe for a nominated monk.

The monks then chanted to bless the 500-odd devotees who came.

Next on the programme was the offering of robes and daily requisites to the monks.

The function ended with the monks and devotees having lunch at the cave.

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