Vihara
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Vihara

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Vihara Presentation Transcript

  • 1. A Buddhist monastery in Thailand is known as a Vihara or a Wat.
  • 2. Viharas are found all over Thailand, and may be very ornate or very simple. These monasteries are the home to the members of the Sangha – and although they may vary, they have certain features in common. Remember that the idea of Monks having a “home” is inaccurate – being a Bhikku means being a homeless wanderer. The first Viharas were given to the Sangha asplaces to rest during the rainy seasons!
  • 3. The Shrine room is the centre of any monastery – here the monks perform their puja every day –demonstrating their respect for the Buddha’s achievement. We makeofferings here as well. Traditionally shrine rooms face to the east – asthis is the direction that the Buddha was facing when he became enlightened.
  • 4. Offerings made at theShrine will include Flowers, Water, Incense, and Candles – there’s a good reason for each one, can you remember what they are?
  • 5. Many Buddha Rupas are covered in Gold Leaf – this isdone by Lay Buddhists to show their respect – it gains them merit as well!
  • 6. As well as making Pujas,supporting the monks, and gilding Buddha rupas, there is a traditionthat members of the laity can gain merit through acts of kindness to other creatures – these ladies are releasing caged birds, and fish in order to gain merit.
  • 7. Larger monasteries will alsohave a meeting hall, called aSala Kanparien. This is used by the monks for regular meetings, sharing monastic discipline, chanting etc.
  • 8. The Mondop is the monk’s library,that contains all our copies of sacred texts – many of which are still written in the traditional manner onlong strips of paper, like this copy of the Tipitaka. This Mondop is a particularly beautiful example, many are simple buildings.
  • 9. Many Viharas will alsohave a Bot – a hall for the ordination ceremony for new monks.
  • 10. There are many important texts thatmonks have to study – particularly the Dhammapada, the Tripitaka, and of course, the Vinaya Pitaka; the book ofrules for the monastic life.
  • 11. Monks have so much to learnthat the Vihara may also act as a school – and not just about Buddhism, so there may be classrooms, and even computer suites!
  • 12. The Kuti is the shelter where the monks live – this should just be a simple structure – many forestmonks just live in shacks. Here the Monks meditate, read, sleep, and eat food from the alms round.
  • 13. The laity gain merit by giving the monks their food on the alms round.
  • 14. In the forest sangha, monks eat in the Kuti – although always before midday.
  • 15. Most monasteries will have a stupa – originally these buildings contained relics of the Buddha, and they still contain relics, but usually of important meditation teachers.You can find out more detail about thesymbolism of a stupa by reading this powerpoint.
  • 16. Monks, and other Buddhists often walkaround Stupas, to show that the Buddha is at the centre of their lives.
  • 17. Many monasteries will have a Bodhi tree shrine –these are often cuttings from the very tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment.
  • 18. This Bodhi tree is so ancient that it has absorbed the Buddha statue beneath it.
  • 19. Many monasterieswill have large, outdoorBuddha rupas – this is the great, bronze Buddha at Kamakura in Japan.
  • 20. Never forget though, that the point of aVihara is to provide a space where dedicated members of the Sangha can work at becoming enlightened. Apeaceful environmentwhere it is easy to be mindful, to practice meditation, and follow the Dharma.