Ata Pirikara

Ata Pirikara Ata Pirikara Ata Pirikara

An Ata Pirikara is an offering gives to the Buddhist Temple as an offering to Lord Buddha. These offerings normally take happen during a alms giving ceremonies. A set of Ata Pirikara consists of the bare necessities of a Buddhist monks daily life style. An Ata Pirikara consists of following items. 

  1. Challenger Sivuru
  2. Challenger Andanakadaya
  3. Bowl
  4. Dalipihiya/ Razor blade
  5. Needle
  6. Belt
  7. Filter
  8. Thread

01. Three types of robe

The Buddha has approved nine robes for the use of monks. Of these, Sangati (the outer robe), Uttarasanga (the upper robe) and Antaravasaka (the lower robe, or undergarment) are the three main robes.

All robes should be smaller than the Buddha’s robe (Sugatha Cheewara). The length of the Buddha’s robe is 13 carpenter’s cubits (Wadu Riyana) and a half. Present monks do not need to wear a robe that is as long and wide as the Sugatha Cheevara. But even if it is very small, the monks won’t be able to wear the robe by preserving the Parimandala Supatichchanna precept and the same thing happens when the robe is too large. Therefore, robes should be made according to one’s own body size. Adanaya that is five feet long, one or two and a half feet wide is appropriate. The single-robe and the double-robe should be one and a half cubits long and four and a half cubits wide. The robes should be cut and sewn to paskadasatkada. If the fabric is too small to cut and sew all three robes, it is also advisable to sew one or two without cutting. An uncut robe should not be worn

02. Bowl

As it was preached by the Buddha, “Pindiyalopabhojanam nissaya pabbajja”, the basic source of food for Bhikkhus was that received during the morning alms round (Pindapatha). This daily dependence on alms food reminds both Bhikkhus and lay devotees of their interdependence and prevents the Bhikkhus from becoming too isolated from the lay community. He ‘meets’ them every day and eats the food that they share with him.

“Na bhikkhave apattako upasampadetabbo, yo upasampadeyya apatti dukkatassa.” There is also a precept stating that a person who does not have a bowl should not be ordained.

No Bhikkhu can hold a bowl made out of gold, silver, crystal, bronze, glass, white lead, black lead or copper and the alms bowl can only be made of clay or iron.

03. Razor blade

The Pali word ‘Danthakattha’ means a wooden stick that is used to brush teeth and the other word ‘Chedanawasi’ means knife. As it has been mentioned in Attaka Wagga of Anguththara Nikaya in Thripitaka, it is clear that a special knife was included in Ata Pirikara in order to make a wooden stick to brush teeth since there were no brushes for that purpose. But, today we can see a razor blade as a part of Ata Pirikara. So, we can imagine that the special knife that was used to make wooden sticks to brush teeth might have used for shaving purpose as well. The razor blade should be made out of stainless steel. But today only a blade can usually be found in Ata Pirikara which cannot be used for any purpose.

04. Needle

Pali word ‘Suchee’ means the needle. Today we can find both a needle as well as a ball of thread in Ata Pirikara. In the early days, various types of fibre were used for this purpose.

05. Robe belt

The belt is also called ‘Kaya Bandanaya’. Kaya Bandanaya is a piece of cloth that is tied around the waist so that the robe does not loosen. “Na bhikkhave uccavacani kayabandhanani dharetabbani, kalabukam deddubhakam murajam maddavinam. yo dhareyya apatti dukkatassa,” which means that the Bhikkhus should not use fancy belts.

06. Filter

‘Parissavana’ is a piece of cloth that is used to filter water. Since there are many invisible creatures in the water, the Buddha advised monks to drink only filtered water.

【LK94008750: Ata Pirikara. Text by Lakpura™. Images by Google, copyright(s) reserved by original authors.】