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Robe Offering to Monks (Waso)

 

Waso (July), the fourth month of Myanmar calendar, is a special month for Buddhists. It is the month in which the Gautama Buddha was conceived in his mother's womb, the month of Buddha's renunciation of the worldly matters, and the preaching of his first sermon.

The month also marks the beginning of the Buddhist Lent. It is a time for sobriety, self-denial and religious contemplation. Buddhist monks enter into monsoon retreat and they have to reside at one place for three months from the Full Moon day of Waso to the Full Moon day of Thadingyut (October.) Residing in one monastry is called Waso or Wah-kutt.

In order that the monks have the necessary amenities during the Lent, laypeople offer monastic robes, food and other necessities. Volunteer service groups offer "soon" (rice and curry) to the monks from their local areas.

The Full Moon Day of Waso is called Dhamma Cakka Day because Buddha delivered the very first sermon to five disciples on this day 25 centuries ago. He expounded the Four Noble Truths, namely, Suffering, the Origin of Suffering, Cessation of Suffering, and the Path that leads to Cessation of Suffering. Hence, on this full moon day organizations and individual families offer robes and soon to the monks. Many people go to pagodas for worship, and to monasteries for Sabbath.