Royal Kathina Ceremony Held at Utah's Only Thai Buddhist Temple

August 29, 2006

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

On August 29, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "In ancient India, when the rains fell, people became anxious about their young crops. The water wasn't the problem. It was the wandering monks who tramped across their vulnerable fields who had them worried. So Lord Buddha, born Siddhartha Gautama in the sixth century B.C., adopted and set forth the practice of a rain retreat - the idea that during the three-month rainy season, also known as Buddhist Lent, monks would stay put. Between the July full moon and the October full moon, they would dedicate themselves and their teachings to one temple community. Within 30 days after Buddhist Lent and before the monks resume travels, Theravada Buddhist temples honor monks by presenting them with new robes. The festive event is called a Kathina ceremony, and on Sunday, Utah's only Thai Buddhist temple - Wat Dhammagunaram - had a celebration of its own. And it wasn't just about the saffron robes. Large pots brimmed with sticky rice, curry chicken and bamboo soup. There were heapings of fresh fruit, crispy Thai noodles, spring rolls and, perhaps reminders of where the people were, a plethora of Twinkies. More than 20 monks, the bulk of them visitors, circled the tables placed outside the Layton temple. People pressed their palms together, bowing their heads in reverence, before scooping food into the monks' silver begging bowls."