◊ Tak Baat Thewo ◊ Thai Cultural Tradition marking the end of the Rains Period ◊ Sunday 20th October Ariyasom Villa
Each year Thailand marks the end of the Rains Retreat period (Vassa, or Pansa) with a special alms round day called Tak Baat Thewo. All across the country the monks and all the Buddhist lay folk will be out in the morning participating in an auspicious almsround. This will be along the streets as usual, but also in schools, factories, government administration blocks, and everywhere else where people gather. In popular temples you must reserve a space if you want a table from which to join in.
According to legend, the Buddha taught Abhidhamma (Buddhist philosophy) to his mother in a heavenly realm over one Rains Retreat period. Once the period came to an end he descended to the earth again via a triple staircase made of Emerald, Gold and Silver. As he reached the earth the humans were waiting to offer him alms.
Almsrounds are a way that the monastic Sangha and the lay people interact. The Buddha made it clear he did not want his Sangha to retreat away from the public, but that they should be co-dependent in order to keep the teaching of enlightenment and presence of the Sangha alive in the community. Thus he forbade his monks from keeping stores of food in order to avoid the almsround in the local towns and villages.
With the traditional format the people are making offerings not to the individual monk, but with the intention to support the Sangha, and the Sasana (Religion) as a whole. The monks therefore do not offer thanks, since the food is not offered to them personally. Foreigners might find it strange that the monks simply walk and accept the offerings without interaction. Indeed their rules do not allow them to make eye contact or conversation with the lay people whilst on the alsmround.
Everyone is welcome to make an offering to the monks in Thailand – it doesn’t matter what your origin, belief or religion. It is part of the Thai culture, and quite fun to join in.
We will be holding our own Tak Baat Thewo at Ariyasom on the official morning of the 20th October (first day after the Rains period officially ends).
10:00am Gather at Ariyasom Villa, arrange the food, refreshments
(Sukhumvit Soi 1 – see map below)
10:15 Short talk on the meaning and significance of this Thai Cultural Holiday
10:50 The Victory Chant
11:00 Alms offering to the monks
11:15 free for all ‘pot luck’ lunch for everyone
A note on what to bring:
Rice will be provided at the venue – everyone offers a spoon of rice into the bowls. Other offerings can be any cooked or ready to eat food – even just a few oranges is a nice way to participate.
Technically monks are not supposed to personally store food (though the temple might have stores and a kitchen). So the proper kind of offerings are cooked foods ready to consume. As there will be a lot of people, you only need offer a small amount (like a spoon of rice), while the main offering will be shared afterwards.
Ariyasom Villa: just go to the end of Sukhumvit Soi 1. You can walk easily from Phloen Chit or Nana BTS