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Ok Phansa is the day when the rains retreat of the monks in their monastery or temple ends. Literally 'ok' means going out or leave (the period). Read more about the Phansa and the entering of the period: Asalha Puja & Khao Phansa.

The texts from the Theravada tradition describe that the Buddha spent his 7th rains retreat in the Tavatimsa Heaven (Pali: 'of the thirtythree' [= of all the gods]) to teach the (Abhi)Dhamma to his mother Mayadevi who deceased 7 days after his birth. The day of his descent from heaven to earth is the Ok Phansa Day. He returned accompanied by gods and brahmas along three stairways, respectively made of gold, silver and juwels. Buddha is named the devatidata (Pali: god between the gods), with the other (Indian) deities as his discipels. Buddha came back on earth at the gate of Sankasha (city in India, Uttar Pradesh), where he was awaited by a crowd of followers which came to offer food.

monniken-luangphrabang-20090124-060507-wv-450pmonnik-met-kom-20110818-192000-wv-450pIn memory of the event Buddhists celebrate the end of the rainy season as a special festival day and give alms which are called tak bat devorohana, or the alms given (tak: to laddle out; bat: alms bowl) after the descending (rohana) from the gods (from the world of the gods: devo; Thai: Thewalohk เทวโลก).

While the Buddha stood on the stairway of juwels, at the same time the heavenly world of the gods and brahmas, the world of the hell, and the human world became visible to each other. This is called 'the opening of the worlds by the Buddha'.  

Commentators explain this as such that the Buddhahood (in broader sense) and the results of good and bad karma became 'visible' for the beings of all the worlds and that the Buddhahood can be pursued by everyone.

] An exceptional Tak Bat Devo festival which shows well the atmosphere of the Buddhist myth, is yearly organized in Thailand, Uthai Thani, in Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri on the top of Sakaekrang mountain. A big crowd of Buddhists from over the whole country come to participate in it.


] At the end of the rains retreat in the month of October, at many places in Laos and Thailand boat festivals and boat races take place, especially on the big rivers Mekong, Nan and Chao-Phraya. In Isaan in Nakhon Phanom on the Mekong and in Ubon Ratchathani on the  Mun. Long-boat racing is a Thai tradition of more than 600 years old. Some of the biggest festivals we find in Ayuthaya, Phichit, Phitsanulok and Narathiwat. This one in Phra Pradaeng in Samut Prakan happens already for 100 years. Also famous is the Chumphon Traditional Boat Racing.


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