The Bhikkhus Rules

A Guide for Laypeople

by Bhikkhu Ariyesako | 1998 | 50,970 words

The Theravadin Buddhist Monk's Rules compiled and explained by: Bhikkhu Ariyesako Discipline is for the sake of restraint, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquillity, tranquillity for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of conce...

The month following the three months of the Rains Retreat — sometime in the October November period — is the traditional Ka.thina time for renewing bhikkhus robes.[1] In ancient times, this was when bhikkhus would help one another in hand sewing cloth into new robes — using the special wooden ka.thina frame.

This is the time when lay supporters often make a special offering of cloth and other requisites to all the monks at a particular monastery. A sewing machine is normally used but all the monks still try to help in the marking out, cutting, sewing, or dying process. The cloth has to be offered, sewn and dyed, so that it is a finished robe and ready to wear within the same day. (Often the robe nowadays is already sewn and pre dyed.) If this procedure is carried through correctly, the bhikkhus are then entitled to special allowances for the next few months.

The Ka.thina Ceremony is optional (unlike some other observances that are mandatory) and requires a quorum of five (eligible) bhikkhus. It has, however, generally become an important festival and almsgiving occasion.

Footnotes and references:


The original allowance came about: "When a group of thirty ascetic bhikkhus braved rain and floods to visit the Buddha and arrived at his residence drenched and weary, the Buddha made the allowance for bhikkhus who have kept the Rains Residence to conduct a Kathina ceremony." (HS ch.21)

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