His Majesty replaces the Emerald Buddha's summer costume with that for the rainy season, which traditionally begins on the first day of Buddhist Lent.
Buddhist Lent Day, a period of three lunar months during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in one wat and when many laypersons adopt more ascetic practices. In Thailand, it has long been customary for men to be ordained temporarily as novices or monks for a lenten period.
During the annual three-month Rains Retreat (Phasa in Thai; vassa in Pali), Buddhist monks are committed to remaining in their monasteries overnight. The tradition predates Buddhism. In ancient India, all holy months of the annual rainy season in permanent dwellings. They avoieded unnecessary travel during the period when crops were still new for fear they might accidentally tread on young plants.
In deference to popular opinion, the Buddha decreed that his follows should also abide by this ancient tradition. This initiated a move away from an itinerant life to a more or less settled existence as the advantages of communal living became apparent. Similar monasteries were founded in other countries where Buddhism became established
Phansa represents a time of renewed spiritual vigor. The mork meditates more, studies more and teaches more. Laymen, too, traditionally, endeavor to be more conscientious, perhap abstaining from liquor and cigarettes and giving extra financial and physical support to their local monasteries. Phansa is also customarily the
season for temporary ordinations. Young men enter the monkhood for spiritual training, to gain merit for for themselves and their parents, and to conform to the widespread feeling that a man who has been a monk cannot be considered a mature adulf. In some areas, a man who has never been a mork is avoided by marriageabe girls, who regard him as khon dip or and 'unrire person'.
The Buddhist ordination is a mixture of religious solemnity, merit-making and boisterous celebration reflecting a Thai belief that the three most important events of a man's life are this birth, his ordination and his marriage. The ordination ritual ifself evolved over 2,500 years ago during
the Buddha's life as the Sangha (the Buddhist monastic oder) took from and has changed little to this day. Socially, the ordination is something in which the entire village participates. Village monks comprise the presiding chapter chapter and preceptors. Villagers
gain merit by accompanying the tonsured, whiterobed candidate for monkhood (known as the nak in a colorful procession to the monastery. Small children join the procession which is often marked by joyous dancing and the heady throb of long drums.Pali : the language in which the scriptures and related texts of Theravada Buddhism are written. Pali is not associated with a distinctive script; in Burma, they would be written and printed in Burmese script and in Sri Lanka, inSinhala script. Wat : the center of Buddhist religious practice; includes both shrines to the Buddha (image halls and cedi) and the monastic residence of members of the sangha; thus, "temple-monastery." Theravada : literally, "the way of the elders." The Buddhist tradition that traces its origin to the practice of the early sangha (the theras) and is based on scriptures written in Pali. The Theravada tradition is differentiated from the Mahayana tradition/ the former being practiced in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Burma and Sri Lanka while the latter is practiced in Tibet, East Asia and Vietnam.