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This year’s Vassa, or Rains Retreat, is coming to a close on October 29th. An annual three-month period of stability for Buddhist monks and nuns for over 2,500 years, the Vassa marked the monsoon time when the typical wandering of samanas (renunciant monks and nuns) from place to place would become impractical and risk damaging the rainy season crops. Since then, as the Sangha (the Buddhist monastic community) has become rooted in different countries and climes, the Vassa has remained a time of stability in Theravada Buddhist monasteries, with the resident community remaining in place for the three months between the full moons of what is usually July through October.