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International Gathering At Grange

To support Buddhist hermitage

On Sunday, Oct. 28, supporters of the Pacific Hermitage, a small, local Buddhist monastery, will hold a potluck and traditional Thai alms-giving ceremony, called a Pah Bah, at the Mt. View Grange, 1085 N. Main Ave., in White Salmon.

The potluck meal will begin at 11 a.m. downstairs and the ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on the main floor. There will be a children's program downstairs beginning at 12:30. Tours of the nearby Pacific Hermitage will begin at 3, with shuttles departing from the grange. Feel free to attend any or all of these activities.

Everyone is welcome. You are free to participate or just observe. The Pah Bah (pronounced paw-baw) will be like an open house, so it should be comfortable for those not familiar with Buddhist practices. English will be the primary language, although there will be some chanting in Pali (the language of the Buddha) for those who know the chants. You don't have to sit cross-legged. There will be plenty of chairs and the ceremony does not include meditation.

The Pah Bah tradition began in the Buddha's time as a way for lay supporters to offer the monks and nuns cloth for their robes. It has evolved into an opportunity for supporters to provide monks with a meal, necessary material goods and financial support for shelter and medical care.

Although the Pah Bah is a ceremony for giving, attendees should not feel that they must make a donation. Donations should be made only if you feel moved to do so.

If you have questions about the meal, ceremony, tour or how to make monetary or other donations, please contact Scott Benge, scott@benge.com, 503-781-3588, or Joan Benge, joan@benge.com.

If you'd like to learn more about the Pacific Hermitage or opportunities to talk with the monks, you are welcome to check their Web site, www.pacifichermitage.org. Visitors are welcome at the Hermitage 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by previous arrangement. The Hermitage location is on the Web site.

The Pah Bah is sponsored by lay supporters from Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, and the United States. The abbots and senior monks from the Hermitage's parent monastery in California and other Buddhist monasteries in Oregon and Washington will be attending to honor and support the Hermitage.

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