Day of Buddhist Lent in Laos05:26

Published on August 4, 2015

Hundreds of Buddhists make merit on the day of Buddhist Lent (Boun Khao Phansa)

Hundreds of Buddhists at every temple around the country stood in line patiently on Friday morning to present their offerings to monks and novices to make merit on the day of Buddhist Lent locally known as Boun Khao Phansa. Our news team as the atmosphere there.

On Boun Khao Phansa, Buddhist adherents visit their local temples early on the morning. Believers of the Buddhist tradition supply monks and novices with food and other daily necessities, as well as offering them candles, robes and flowers, in the hope it will help them concentrate on their meditation and other studies and hoping to make merit for themselves, their families and relatives who have already passed on, so that they might be reborn.

People also offer sweets Khaotom among items to the monks as they pass with their silver bowls; these will be taken as snacks because monks are forbidden to eat meals after midday.

Some of the offerings will be donated to poor families and hospital patients. Believers are then given blessings by the monks, to help them find wisdom, health, happiness, success in life, and be reborn in a good place in the next life.

While the start of Lent is enthusiastically observed, the entire three months of this period are important to Lao Buddhists and they will strive to make merit for themselves and their families.

The period of Lent is a time for serious devotion to the ways of the Buddha, when monks must strenuously observe their commitments to the 227 Buddhist precepts, meditate and study the Pali scriptures. Pali is the language used by monks to chant during holy ceremonies at the temple.

An important aspect of Buddhist Lent is that it is a time for monks to reflect upon themselves and their actions, to consider their faults and past indiscretions. Junior monks will ask for forgiveness from senior monks for any careless words or actions which they may have committed.

On the day of lent, in the evening at 8pm, people will attend local temples to walk around the central temple hall three times with bunches of flowers and candles, to pray for the blessings of Buddha and mark the start of Lent.

According to legend, in the era of Buddha more than 2500 years ago, students of the enlightened one travelled far and wide to help share his teachings and philosophy but despite their good intentions they trampled on some of the farmers’ rice crops as they walked through the countryside, accidently squashing some of the small creatures that lived in the fields.

The villagers began to complain about these men walking through their rice fields, crushing insects beneath their feet. When word reached the Buddha that the villagers were upset, he decided in his wisdom that his followers should remain in the temple during the rainy season, known as Buddhist Lent. This is when all the smaller creatures emerged to breed.

The period of Lent is a time for serious devotion to the ways of the Buddha, when monks must strenuously observe their commitments to the 227 Buddhist precepts, meditate and study the Pali scriptures. Pali is the language used by monks to chant during holy ceremonies at the temple.

While an important aspect of Buddhist Lent is that it is a time for monks to reflect upon themselves and their actions, to consider their faults and past indiscretions. Junior monks will ask for forgiveness from senior monks for any careless words or actions which they may have committed.

Source: Lao National Television News in English (LNTV)
Broadcast on July 30, 2015