The Mondul Ottawa Khmer Buddhist Monastery
The Buddhist Lent
The period is upon us when the familiar sights of swatches (samples) of  safiron and brigh  orange robes will be less common vista (view). While the rian establish their ancient routine, the Sangha (the monastic community) prepare to retreat (withdraw)   within the confines (boundaries) of their pagodas. This self-imposed isolation (separation)   will  last three months and give a chance   for monks to pray and contemplate (study).
       Vossa is adopted from the Pali language: "Vassa" means rain or rainy season. Originally, Choul Preah Vossa would last for four months:  from  1 Roch of Arsath   to 15 koert of Kadeuk ,Nowadays, they shorten it  to three months: from 1 Roch of Arsath to 15 Koert of Aksuch .
       Through Buddhist custom and trandition, all monks, from every pagoda must attend Bonn Choul Preah Vossa for the following months.During the period all  of  these pagodas always keep Tean Preah Vossa. the Candle of Bonn Choul Preah Vossa, a light (burning) for the full three months.
       Tean Preah Vossa, which is one of the most important things in Bonn Chuol Preah Vossa, is made of honey beeswax. The sheath (the cover) of the candle is made of wood. The candle measures two Chabs (a circle of two palms together in width and two Harth (about a metter) in height awith many kinds of artistic adornment on the surface. Inside the  wooden sheath , there is a cotton thread as a candlewax.
       Honey beeswax is scare (difficult to fine/ have ). Therefore, people have adopted a new idea and often use kerosene instead of beeswax to put in the wooden sheath and cover with beeswax on top. But now there are many Tean Preah Vossa candle in the market, which are produced by factories for Buddhist countries.
       The king, or members of his royal family always light Tean Preah Vossa, Buddhist devotees go to pagoda with food. Then the monks salute   the Buddha and pray for the souls of all Khmers: devotees offer food to the monks at the lunch time the monks Preah in the afternoon.This is in preparation for the actual day of the ceremony.
     In the  afternoon of the first day of Bonn Choul Preah Vossa, they ceremoniously  circle around the temple threee timeswith Tean Preah Vossa and other daily necessities such as clothes, toothpaste ,soap, etc and then  place the items together inside the temple to be divided among them. During  this  time a senior monk (one who has been a monk for longest) announces that this the first day of the there months of  Bonn Choul Preah Vossa. During this period, we are not allowed   to go anywhere and all monks who are seated with him repeat the pledge after him.
       If they have any special things to do : such as if their mother or father fails sick they can leave the pagoda by seeking permission from the Abott. Even when granted (given), this leave of absence can't exceed (be more than) seven days.
       If for some valid reasons that monk is not able to attend the opening ceremony, the absent monk can attend Bonn Choul Preah Vossa later. On the first Roch of Srarp and stay in pagoda from three monks, just like the other monks.
       The concept (idea / theory) of the monks retreating (withdrawing) from the public is one that harks back to by gone eras. However, even if taken from antiquity (old time), it forms part of the rice varity of rituals and ceremonies within the year, which play  an important role in defining modern day Cambodia.
Welcome to Bodhikaram Temple of the Mondul Ottawa Khmer Buddhist Monastery, 1197 Deer Park Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, K2E 6H5, Canada Tel: (613) 230-6268, Cell: (613) 261-5692, (613) 255-6904