Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


Vesākha Puja Day (and making merit) ~

vesak dayAlthough May/ late spring celebrations in Buddhism go back centuries, it was only in 1950 that the Buddhist world agreed to celebrate Vesākha Puja together, on the full moon day in the month of May. In other words, May 25th this year.

In other Buddhist communities, the holiday celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha is known as Vesak, Visak, Wesak, and even Waisak. And if there are two full moons in May — as there were in 2007 — some countries will celebrate on the first full moon day, and others will choose to celebrate the 2nd full moon day.

I love this. It is absolutely Buddhist to me. I can’t imagine any other religion being so … liberal in its celebratory rites. Christian denominations have SPLIT over whether Easter is this Sunday or that Sunday… Given how the calendar has changed? A lunar calendar, geared to the seasons, is probably the most accurate metric we have. And the freedom to decide it according to local tradition? How wonderful!

Besides: what does it matter when we celebrate the important events of our faiths & traditions? As long as we do.

Buddhists celebrate Vesākha Puja in several ways, as the license to choose which full moon might suggest. :) If you’d like to prepare, here are some suggestions: Buddhist followers take flowers and offerings to the temples they attend, giving them to the teachers there, or to the temple. The thought is that as the flowers & offerings wither & die, so will life. The basis of Buddhism… Everything passes.

It’s a primarily vegetarian holiday — killing of even food is discouraged. Animals, insects, & birds often are set free, a symbolic ‘setting free’ of all those in captivity or imprisoned. I like to think, too, that it’s like the freeing of caged finches I saw as a child in Thailand: symbolic of the way following the path of Buddhism sets us free from the cycle of samsara, the cycle of birth, death, sorrow, and rebirth (for those Buddhists who believe in reincarnation; not all do).

It’s also a holiday of remembering the less fortunate through alms, as well as celebrating the teachings of Buddha. So tomorrow, make an online donation. Or do your own boxing day, cleaning out closets to donate. Spend a bit of time being grateful for your precious human life. And remember: everything passes ~

 

 



Previous Posts

choosing happy
Someone in my family -- probably either Aunt Bonnie or Grandmother Britton -- used to say that you choose to be happy. Each morning, she told me, you make that choice. It's a decision. So today? I'm choosing

posted 3:50:11pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

some periods you just breathe through...
At times like this, I don't know what I'd do w/out tonglen. When I'm grieving for a loved one's unhappiness, or breathing through my own, I remember: all over the world there is suffering. I know - how hokey is

posted 4:20:37pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

the fragrance of peaches
I wish I could send out, over the ethernet, the fragrance of the peach tea I made today. I wish there was a way to bottle the steam spiralling from the cup, comforting on a worrying day. Often when I worry, it

posted 12:11:07pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

with a little help from friends
You know that saying 'it takes a village'? Well, it does. For any endeavour worth remembering, it takes collaboration. Varied viewpoints, multiple hands, and a LOT of coordination. Witness my niece's shower. W

posted 5:00:00pm Jan. 25, 2015 | read full post »

talking to strangers
I know, your mother told you not to. But now you're a grown-up, and I beg you to reconsider. You're sooo missing out! Yesterday I had the loveliest conversation with two strangers -- two of the many I meet daily.

posted 10:30:46pm Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.