Dhutanga (Pali dhutaṅga "renunciation",1 known in Thai as "Thudong") is a group of thirteen austerities or ascetic practices most commonly observed by the practitioners of the Theravada Buddhism.
Dhutanga is a monastic austerity practice to help remove defilements of the mind, one of which is attachment to things. Embarking on this pilgrimage, it is essential to travel light with the least amount of things. Therefore, Dhutanga monks will only carry the things they need: a tent held on a long-handled umbrella, a shoulder satchel, an alms-bowl and one set of monk’s robes. The Buddha does not require these practices. Monks and lay persons are recommended to follow once in a while to renounce all material wealth.
Dhutanga practices are usually considered extreme approaches that ask practitioners to refrain from all material comfort compared to relaxing approaches that emphasize a gentle way to keep the mind with themselves.
Monks may choose to observe some rules or at least one rule. They don’t have to observe all at the same time. For Dhammayatra (formerly known as Dhammachai Dhutanga), monks will have just one meal and will not take extra food after the first serving or accept additional food offered by the laity. Each evening they will reside at the location arranged by the staff and sleep in tents that they’ve been carrying. At each day’s destination, the Dhammayatra monks will assemble to perform chanting and practice meditation together.
Throughout the day as they’re walking, the monks will observe the practice of silence and mindfulness and always carry a tranquil countenance and refined deportment of virtuous individuals who have trained themselves well.
When performing walking meditation, monks will not be distracted by the heat or the hot surface under their feet, but will continue to walk gracefully and peacefully along to greet faithful supporters who have gathered to sprinkle marigold petals on the path and to enthusiastically welcome the Dhutanga monks walking pass their homes or offices.
The pilgrimage will bring joy to everyone participating and blessings to the land walked by these noble monks – like a cool rain delivering happiness, delight and brightness.