Sunday, October 27, 2019

Saturday's Activities

Handyman A was supposed to come today to work on the garage side door or the sliding glass door.  I got up at 8:00 a.m. and got dressed.  He hadn't said a time and had told me he'd call before he came, but, I wanted to be ready in case he showed up without calling or was already on his way when he called.  Only, he didn't call and he didn't show up.  I waited all day!  I am hoping that it was because he was busy working another job that he couldn't make it, today.  I am hoping that he will show up sometime during the week.  Or, even, next week.  I am hoping that the reason he didn't show up today was not because he didn't want to do the jobs I want him to do!  At least, he was able to fix my garage door!  I am grateful for that!

While I waited for him, I decided to work on one of my quilts in progress.  The Mountain Climbing quilt, to be exact.  I had been sewing the little grey rectangles to represent the steps climbed, but, it wasn't turning out the way I had intended it to and so, today, I unpicked all the ones I had sewn.  I've decided that I will not have the grey rectangles, after all.  Then, I worked on the backing.  I want to incorporate some leftover patchwork pieces to the backing.  So, I spent a little time piecing those squares and cutting out a few additional squares.  I am going to use a purple bed sheet that I had been given, for the backing.  I put it on the bed to get measurements and Dancer tested it and approved (he plopped himself down on it and napped!)  LOL!

Speaking of naps, I took one, in the afternoon.  Seems like waking up earlier in the morning results in naps in the afternoon! 

After I woke up and had a cup of tea, I went to the temple.  The temple is observing the end of the rainy season retreat.  It is called Kathina ceremony and is one of the more important ceremonies at the temple.  I wrote about it, here, a couple of years ago.  It is a two day event, with blessings being chanted one evening and an almsgiving and the offering of a special robe the next day.  Today, I attended the chanting of the blessings, known as "pirith".  The events started around 5:00 p.m. and will go on until at least midnight. 

A structure known as a "mandapaya", or pavilion, is built inside the shrine room of the temple.  It provides an enclosure for the monks to sit in while they chant.  Sometimes, it is decorated with panels of intricately cut tissue paper.  This year, the structure featured strings of flowers and vines.  Overhead, there are threads interwoven with leaves

"Pirith Mandapaya"
On either side of the doorway to the pavilion, they have placed a brass vessel, known as a "kalaya", which is traditionally used for collecting water, filled with the inflorescence of coconut palms.  Known as "pun kalas", they are a symbol of plenty, good fortune, and prosperity.  In Sri Lanka, they would be the natural inflorescence; here, we use artificial replicas made of plastic. 

Pun Kalas or Brass Water Pots with Coconut Inflorescence

The monks sit around a central table on which are placed a reliquary and the ola leaf scrolls on which the Buddhist scriptures are written.  These are the discourses through which the Buddha taught the principles of what is now known as Buddhism.  Throughout the night, the monks will take turns, two monks at a time, to chant the discourses or Sutra (Sanskrit) or Sutta (Pali).  At the end of each recitation, the monks bless the participants: "By the truth of these words, may you be well, may you succeed, may you be happy".

Once the chanting got underway, the lights were switched on:

With the Lights On

At 8:30 p.m., while the chanting was still going on, dinner was served to all the participants under a tent that was erected out in the garden.   A buffet was set up with a type of rice noodles known as indiappan or string hoppers, potato curry, two types of curry made with textured vegetable protein, spicy onions or seeni sambol, a type of snack known as cutlets, which are a mixture of potato and fish, formed into balls, battered and crumbed and deep fried, and crusty bread.  I brought my plate of food home to eat, as I didn't want to stay out too late.  There were fresh fruits for dessert, but I didn't take any. 


After I came home, I video chatted with my daughter.

Tomorrow's ceremonies will start with a parade around the block at 10:00 a.m., followed by an almsgiving (and lunch for the devotees) and the offering of the special robe known as the "Kathina robe" to the assembly of monks.  The kathina robe was being sewn at the temple, today, where a sewing machine was set up in the corner of the other, larger, assembly hall where the almsgiving will be held, tomorrow.  The Buddhist monks' robes are sewn in a specific patchwork pattern, said to resemble the way rice paddy fields are laid out. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A working garage door (even if A didn't come to fix the other doors)
- Time to sew on my quilt
- Afternoon naps
- Being able to participate in the Kathina ceremony at the temple
- A wonderful dinner

Today's joyful activities included sewing, napping, and going to the temple.

Saturday's To Do List:
- Have handyman A tend to the sliding glass door - He didn't show up, today!
- Discuss other projects I want him to do for me - Nope!
- Attend the evening chanting ceremony at the temple, if possible - DONE

Sunday's To Do List:
- Attend the almsgiving at the temple
- More sewing

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?


  1. Thanks for giving an overview of the Kathina ceremony. It's always interesting to learn about others cultures and religions.

    A possible suggestion. Could you sew the step pattern or mountain for that matter on the back of the quilt? That way you would still have the symbology there but it wouldn't mess up the pattern in the front.

    1. You are welcome, Live and Learn.

      That is a good suggestion and one that I considered. But, I think I am OK without the steps. I've got to the point where I want the quilt finished!

  2. Wow thanks for sharing pics inside the temple.

    1. My pleasure, Akasha. In Sri Lanka, temples are specially built buildings; over here, they are mostly houses that have been converted. Therefore, each one is slightly different.

  3. I do hope A contacts you and is able and willing to carry out your other jobs. I doubt the monks would have recommended him if he was known to be unreliable so hopefully this is a one-off for a good reason.

    The ceremony at the temple is very interesting. You seem to have food at all of the ceremonies and meetings, so is the food a big part of the tradition?

    1. Yes, I'm hopeful he will show up. I do have his telephone number so I can call him if I don't hear from him by the end of the week or so.

      I think the food aspects of it have evolved over the years! There was always food at almsgivings, but not at all the other functions. But, people here travel long distances to attend temple services and it is hard to be at the temple for some of the evening ceremonies when it is dinner time. The monks don't eat an evening meal, so they are used to it, but not the rest of us! I think the monks have realized that attendance improves if there is food involved! ;)

  4. what an interesting post!! thank you for giving your readers a look into a tradition that might differ from ours-
    I think of you and your daughter while I read reports of the on-going fire conditions there- hope the troubled areas stay far from you ...
    the usual regards from here-

    1. You are welcome, Barb. Glad you found it interesting.

      We are both safe, thank you, although my daughter might be affected by new round of proposed power cuts! So far, however, she has power.

      Hope all is well with you and yours and you are enjoying your Sunday.

  5. Thank you for sharing the photos of the pavilion for the Kathina ceremony. I noticed people dressed in white and you always tell us that you dress in white to go to the Temple. I love the way in which beautiful symbolic decoration and lights can enhance worship in so many different faiths.

    Well, I guess Dancer has his own opinion about the Mountain Climbing Quilt, so you had better defer to his expertise!

    It's raining here again, I wish I could send some to help dowse those dreadful fires. I hope you and your daughter are far away from them.

    1. My pleasure, Bushlady. Most of the people who attended the event wore white. I took the photo before the room got crowded, but, all the seats set up on the floor were occupied and some of us sat on low stools set up against one of the walls. I prefer these low stools as I can't sit on the floor for a long time, anymore (or, if I do, I can't get up!)

      The new quilt seems to have received the Dancer seal of approval! You know what that means! :D

      My daughter and I are safe from the fires at this point, thank you. We are having a cloud cover and a weather change, today. I am hoping that it will help with the fires.

  6. Gosh, I have spiritual envy reading this, if you know what I mean, Bless. It all sounds so beautiful and meaningful.

    1. It was a very spiritually replenishing event, as far as I am concerned, Ratnamurti. :)


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