Almost immediately after Ohpensa is Boon Katin, another major Thai Buddhist observance. It is the time when monks receive new robes for the year and monks start to move out from their temples to visit other wats – having been sequestered in their own temple for three months from Khaopensa to Ohpensa, due to the restrictions imposed by Vassa.
After Boon Katin, it was Thip’s 43rd birthday and my 66th. Thip wanted to do something special this year, so we observed our birthdays jointly at our Kamattan temple, with a candle light ceremony of “making merit” (boon). I couldn’t count the number of candles. Ours and others’ who joined us in the merit making must have amounted to well over two thousand candles between about thirty people.
Thip said it was not a ceremony that is often done and that we were fortunate that Lungpaw agreed to it and that others also took part in the giving (ceremony and food afterwards and the next morning), making a stronger, more meaningful act.