Venerable Luangphor sir, it is a tradition to have our children ordain for the duration of the Buddhist Lent season so that they can study Buddhism. I would like to know if they gain more merit from their studies during this period than ordination at other times.
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
The truth is, Buddhist monks, whether they’re ordaining for life or temporarily, share the same objectives: to rid themselves of defilements and to attain nirvana. In layman’s terms, the aim is to release oneself from defilements so that we can reach nirvana and liberate oneself from the cycle of existence.
Now, once you are ordained, for whichever length, please adhere to your endeavor. Whether you’ve ordained for a short or long period, maintain your determination and sustain the tradition and objectives of ordaining wholeheartedly. It doesn’t matter when you ordain; you will receive equal merit. For those who are new and want to have a favorable environment for the purpose of studying Dhamma, the words of Lord Buddha, in order to use it to better oneself, will have an exceptional atmosphere appropriate and conducive for attaining the maximum benefits during the ordination that our ancestors have chosen in the past. The rainy season is the time when the atmosphere is special and one that is fitting for our children to be ordained. How is it special?The earth, sky, and the weather are favorable. During the summer months, we know that it can be quite hot in Thailand . It is so hot that schools are closed during this season. It is difficult to concentrate on learning during these months because the weather is so hot. For that reason schools are closed during this time. It is similar for those learning Dhamma. It would be difficult to have newly ordained monks sustain their focus on learning Dhamma during the summer months too.
What about the winter season? It is similar during the winter months. When we were kids going to school in the country side during the winter time, we would sit around a fireplace to keep warm. The atmosphere for learning is similarly limited. It should not be too hot and it should not be too cold. The season that is not too hot or too cold for the country of Thailand seems to be the rainy season or during the Buddhist Lent season. For that reason, the rainy season is selected.
The season and the weather are perfect for the purpose of studying Dhamma to the highest degree.
Teachers are available because seasoned monks are on hand. They have to be there because the monastic discipline requires them to reside in one place. They are required to stay in one place for the entire Lent season. For that reason, teachers are readily available during this period. Therefore, any new monks that become their pupils have the chance to experience these teachers first hand. This is a superb opportunity to receive greater knowledge in Dhamma, as compared to any other time of the year.
It is understood that there’s a preference to be ordinained as monks during Buddhist Lent season.In that case during the rain retreat, the pupils are the newly ordained monks and the teachers are the seasoned monks. The earth, sky, and weather are favorable and fitting. The newly ordained monks are usually eager and enthused to be ordained during the Buddhist Lent season, because they can now devote their time toward the study of Dhamma.
Beyond that, there’s a fourth factor that makes the season favorable. Laypeople will develop an increased desire to come and listen to sermons and Dhamma, since their sons and nephews are now ordained. Since they are already at the temple, they will desire more. They’ve come because of their love and care for their ordained sons and nephews. In addition, they come bearing food and sustenance to offer and feed their ordained sons and nephews, which in turn also feed all the other monks at the temple.
That’s not all. Once they’re done tending to their ordained sons and nephews, they will have to go pay their respect to the venerable monks. When this happens, there is an increased familiarity and bond between laypeople and monks during this rainy retreat. The laypeople will have the opportunity to listen to sermons and Dhamma together. Their ordained sons and nephews will be in another class learning too. The parents and relatives will be listening to the Dhamma in another hall. This will make it a perfect atmosphere for practicing the Buddhist principles. Thus, the rainy retreat is considered to be the most favorable time for an ordination.
It has become customary to want to ordain during the Buddhist Lent season because of the maximum merit attained by those ordained. They have the opportunity to study the Dhamma extensively and provide tremendous merit for their parents. Even though the new monks are not yet proficient in giving sermons, the seasoned monks at the temple, are. They can help make things perfect and increase happiness for everyone. So ordination during Buddhist Lent season will provide the maximum merit as compared to other times of the year.