All welcome as 2,500 year-old Buddhist celebration Kathina marked in Hebburn

A millennia-old Buddhist day of celebration is coming to South Tyneside this autumn.

The celebration, Kathina, is a 2,500-year-old festival which comes at the end of a three-month rainy season retreat for Buddhists in the Far East. Kathina lasts for a month and it usually begins after the full moon of October.

Rains-Retreat, considered similar to Lent in the Christian faith, is the act of remaining in one place for three months and can feature intense meditation.

Kathina is a time of giving and is also the largest alms-giving event in the Buddhist calendar. It is an annual traditional celebration in the faith, where Buddhists gather and offer robes to their monastic community.

A previous Kathina ceremony.

The celebration takes place on Sunday, October 16, at the Dhammakaya Meditation Centre in Church Street, Hebburn, between 9.15am and 3pm. The venue was formerly the impressive St Andrew’s Church, but is now a Buddhist temple.

The centre was developed thanks in part to financial support from the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the chairman of Leicester City Football Club, who died in a helicopter crash in 2018.

The occasion is also the 12th anniversary of the installation of the last stained glass window onto the church, which sees another special event in the form of a ceremony between 10.10am and 11.10am.

The order of the day is as follows: meditation and chanting at 9.15am to 9.50am, speeches by VIP guests from 9.50am to 10.10am, ceremony of installation of the last stained glass window from 10.10am to 11.10am, traditional Buddhist alms giving at 10.50am to 11.20am

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The Kathina procession is a delightful sight.

There will be free traditional Thai food from 11.20am to 12.30pm, with the traditional Buddhist ceremony (Kathina celebration) taking place at 12.30pm to 3pm. Prior registration is required to partake in the Thai food.

The event, which has its origins back in 500BC, has been attended by hundreds in recent years and all are welcome at the 2022 event.

Karucha Sripramote, a Buddhist monk at the Dhammakaya Meditation Centre, is very much looking forward to October 16.

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He said: “Everyone is invited. Kathina is one of our most important ceremonies in Therawada.”

For more information call 07915 771268, email [email protected] or you can visit www.meditationnewcastle.co.uk.