Why Christmas annoys me

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Why Christmas annoys me

Postby manas » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:27 am

[Hi, just an edit here. Obviously when I first wrote this, I was not having the best of days...that was then, this is now, but the topic still exists. But if anyone wants to comment, feel free...just to say, it's not an issue in that way anymore. Anyway, here it is]:

1. It is quite possible that Jesus never actually existed, and even if he did, he would utterly disown the current churches that claim to represent him.

2. Assuming he did actually exist, apparently his birthday was not originally celebrated during the Solstice, but was shifted to that time. The church wanted to stop pagans from continuing their Solstice rituals, and superimposing their 'son' worship over the more ancient sun worship, seemed like a good way to do this.

3. What's with all the imagery of snow, reindeer, and a big man in a woolen suit? It's the middle of summer here (in australia). There are no reindeer here and there never were. And, is the proliferation of cheap plastic tinsel everywhere a subtle dig at the fakeness of it all, or just it's natural expression?

4. Welcome to the most blatantly commercial time of year. Spend as much as you can. Make sure you buy enough!

5. What about all the goodwill, you say? Well I do notice that people do tend to wish each other a happy christmas even in the street etc, especially on Christmas Eve. etc. And young kids certainly find it a magical time (this being the reason I grit my teeth and do my best to sort of celebrate it at my house, even though I'm a Buddhist. It's for the sake of my youngest child, and that is all). But look a little deeper, and we find that many folks get very stressed this time of year, there is a lot of financial stress arising from it and as for those who live alone or are isolated, let me tell you I've been there and it's a terrible time of year to endure, for those folks.

But if anyone can post some positive things about Christmas, please do. It might counteract my current annoyance with this thinly veiled retail profit-fest.

yours grumpily,

manas
Last edited by manas on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:07 am

Hi, Manas,
I share your feelings, although mine have mellowed somewhat in the last ten years :tongue: as I chose to focus on the good there is in it and try to shrug off the negatives - which is what I do with other things in life: bosses, taxes, shonky business people, politicians, etc.

But to be specific: good things about Christmas:
Christmas cake.
Seafood lunch on the back deck with family (I know, some people would count that as a negative, but I like it :smile: )
A couple of days off work.
A reminder to get in touch with family and friends at least once every year.
Books (I have my family well trained).
The start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race (Boxing Day, I know, but that still counts).

Does that help?

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:21 am

My aunt is a therapist. Apparently Christmas is good for business. :console:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby cooran » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:47 am

Kim OHara wrote:But to be specific: good things about Christmas:

The start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race (Boxing Day, I know, but that still counts).
:namaste:
Kim

Hi Kim,

One of the nurses I work with will be on one of the boats with other ex-service personnel. It is called The Spirit of Mateship. Will be interested to see how it goes.

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:14 am

Greetings,

manas wrote:But if anyone can post some positive things about Christmas, please do. It might counteract my current annoyance with this thinly veiled retail profit-fest.

Peace and good-will to all men.

(Oh, and to the ladies and children too...)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby purple planet » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:54 am

the tale "a Christmas carol"

Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:02 am

Coming back with an afterthought ...
Manas, you might identify with http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6042&start=20#p94892 but the OP of that thread, i.e. http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6042#p94773 was what I went looking for. I remembered coming up with it as one way of making Christmas less bad, then I couldn't remember which Christmas that was ... must've been hanging around DW too long. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:25 am

May the Krampus come to vist you.

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby bodom » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Ajahn Chah on Christmas:

Q: Then is Buddhism much different from other religions?

A: It is the business of genuine religions, including Buddhism, to bring people to the happiness that comes from clearly and honestly seeing how things are. Whenever any religion or system or practice accomplishes this, you can call that Buddhism, if you like.

In the Christian religion, for example, one of the most important holidays is Christmas. A group of the Western monks decided last year to make a special day of Christmas, with a ceremony of gift-giving and merit-making. Various other disciples of mine questioned this, saying, “If they’re ordained as Buddhists, how can they celebrate Christmas? Isn’t this a Christian holiday?”

In my Dharma talk, I explained how all people in the world are fundamentally the same. Calling them Europeans, Americans, or Thais just indicates where they were born or the color of their hair, but they all have basically the same kind of minds and bodies; all belong to the same family of people being born, growing old, and dying. When you understand this, differences become unimportant. Similarly, if Christmas is an occasion where people make a particular effort to do what is good and kind and helpful to others in some way, that’s important and wonderful, no matter what system you use to describe it.

So I told the villagers, ‘Today we’ll call this Chrisbuddhamas. As long as people are practicing properly, they’re practicing Christ-Buddhism, and things are fine.”

I teach this way to enable people to let go of their attachments to various concepts and to see what is happening in a straightforward and natural way. Anything that inspires us to see what is true and do what is good is proper practice. You may call it anything you like.


http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=8386

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby seeker242 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:17 pm

The below seems to suggest that it is not Christmas that is the cause of the annoyance. Isn't the idea that "christmas is bad" really just obsessing over like and dislike?

Rāhula, develop a mind like earth, then contacts of arisen like and dislike
will not obsess your mind! Rāhula, on the earth is dumped both the pure and
the impure: excreta, urine, saliva, pus, blood, but the earth does not detest
any of those... Even and exactly so make your mind stable like the earth!


Goodwill is a very effective antidote to annoyances!

Bhikkhus, there are these five ways of removing annoyance, by which any
irritation can be entirely removed by a Bhikkhu, when it arises in him.
What are these five ways?
1: Friendliness can be maintained towards an irritating person or state..
2: Understanding can be undertaken towards an irritating person or state..
3: On-looking Equanimity can be kept towards an irritating person or state..
4: One can forget and ignore the irritating person, mental or physical state..
5: Ownership of Kamma of the irritating person can be reflected upon thus:
This good person is owner of his actions, inherit the result his actions, is
indeed born of his actions and only he is responsible for his actions be they
good or bad. This too is how annoyance with the irksome can be instantly
removed. These are the five ways of removing annoyance, and by which any
irritation can be entirely removed in a friend, exactly when it arises...
Anguttara Nikāya V 161


http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/Patie ... erance.htm

:namaste:
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Hickersonia » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:20 pm

A humorous note (although not necessarily helpful, sorry): I tolerate Christmas more now that I am not a Christian than I ever did when I was.

Sure, I love decorating and all that, but as a religious holiday goes, Christmas feels way too watered down. Maybe this is because most people aren't particularly religious (unless Materialism counts, in which case Commercemas is the perfect holiday!).

That said, my wife's church has a really awesome traditional service every Christmas eve which I hope to attend every year.

Please be well, friend. :anjali:
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


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throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Kare » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:50 pm

In Norway we had the seasonal festival "Jul" (Yule) long before Christianity arrived. It is a pre-Christian celebration of the winter solstice. Christianity couped it and made it into a Christian event, even changing its name in England, so that Yule became Christmas. (In Norway that namechange never was a success. We still use the old name, "Jul".)

Since Christianity couped the Yule, anyone should feel free to coup it back and fill the celebration with the contents that feels right to them. Start calling it Yule again and make it a celebration of Buddhism, Humanity, Friendship, Love, Family or whatever feels right to you.
Mettāya,
Kåre
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:16 pm

manas wrote:But if anyone can post some positive things about Christmas, please do. It might counteract my current annoyance with this thinly veiled retail profit-fest.


Yes, I'm all "bah humbug" about Christmas too, but thinking about it as a pagan festival helps a little.
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:19 pm

Uposatha was a pagan festival that was handily made useful for Dhammic purposes...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:40 pm

daverupa wrote:Uposatha was a pagan festival that was handily made useful for Dhammic purposes...


Speaking of which, Merry Uposatha!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby SDC » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:08 pm

On a positive note, it is a time to spend with loved ones. I stopped looking for meaning in all the other parts long ago.
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:18 pm

I like Christmas trees and the light decorations. To me it seems more Buddhist than Christian. The Buddhas all attained enlightenment under a tree and the lights can signify enlightenment.
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby kmath » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:May the Krampus come to vist you.



:jumping:

This is great!
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:58 pm

I try to attend a 10-day silent retreat during the Christmas season, usually December 21- January 2. These are very popular retreats for school teachers, college students, and university professors, because they are on break. It is wonderful to miss the drunkenness and consumerism driven debauchery we call "the Holiday Spirit".
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Why Christmas annoys me

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:59 pm

But if anyone can post some positive things about Christmas, please do. It might counteract my current annoyance with this thinly veiled retail profit-fest.


The way in which it raises the profile of a group of believers who relate to goodness in a way that is different, but heartfelt. Good, neighbourly people who gather (around here, anyway) in magnificent mediaeval buildings to sing beautifully, and to speak robust archaic poetry, and to wish me well. The stirring of an ancient culture that speaks to my bones, if not to my critical faculties.

And vegan mince pies, of course.
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