The rains retreat | Sunday Observer

The rains retreat

The drought held sway.
The sun cast its rays mercilessly on land and water,
Resulted in intense evaporation
The water vapour coalesced till saturation point was reached,
Forming thick masses of rain clouds;
Drops of rain reached the earth
In drizzles first, becoming torrential showers later.
Men and beasts sought shelter from the onslaught,
Birds flew to seek protection among the leafy nests;
Buddhist monks braved the rains.
They walked across meadows and jungles,
Crossed the rivers in spate
To continue their mission of spreading the Dhamma.
As the Buddha advised them at the first sermon.
There was a public cry in some quarters,
That the monks’ walk on the rain-soaked ground
Prevent the growth of grass or any young plant
That they should stay indoors till rains cease.
The Buddha appreciated constructive criticism.
Receptive to the arguments, He advised the monks
To spend the rainy season indoors
Not to live outdoors, under trees, in cemeteries
Remain in their temples and not proceed on pindapatha,
Depend on alms brought by lay devotees,
To perform religious rites, concentrate on meditation
And deliver sermons to lay devotees.
The Rains Retreat or Vas commences on the Esala Poya day
Continues till the end of vassana kalo the rainy season.

-Sunila Nanayakkara