2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

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2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby seanandrews » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:55 am

Hello everyone!

I am trying to plan ahead for 2010 and mark my Buddhist holidays on my calendar, but I must admit, I am completely confused and frustrated.

It isn't bad enough that different holidays are honored in the different schools of Buddhism, but on top of that, dates seem to differ depending on which web site I look at.

For example, I have looked at the 2010 Buddhist holidays calendars on three different web sites. One says Vesak is on May 17, one on May 26 and one on May 27. Which one is right? How do I know which one is right? How do I know which one to trust? So I could potentially be marking down all these holidays and then not even celebrate them on the right day, right?

I wish there was one single authoritative source for the dates.

I guess it does not help that most if not all Buddhist holidays have dates that vary from year to year because, rather than being based on a strict date (like Christmas is always 12/25), or even based on something like "the third Wednesday of every March") -- both of which are easy to mark on the calendar -- they are based on #1) the phases of the moon, right? And then it gets even more complicated when you factor in #2) the school of Buddhism and #3) the country. So, in Theravada, the Buddha's enlightenment is celebrated on Vesak, typically in May, whereas in Mahayana, it is celebrated in February (?). Or something may be celebrated in one month in Thailand, in another month in Cambodia, and in yet another month in Laos. Well, if I say I am a Theravadin, which country's celebration calendar do I follow, because all three of these countries practice Theravada. Theravada is not exactly the predominant religion in the United States, so I cannot exact consult a U.S. Theravada calendar for 2010. I kinda have to go off of the calendar for another country. So which one?

Help!

This is one of those cases where I am ready to throw in the towel...
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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:37 am

Yes, it's frustrating. I just wait for calendars to be handed out at my local Wat at Kathina... In my opinion, the "correct" days are the ones observed at one's local institution, since if you turn up on the wrong day you'll miss the party... :cry:

Even just within Thailand the two Theravada sects have different lunar calculations so sometimes they are one day different:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... a2009.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... satha.html
The calendar of Uposatha days is calculated using a complex traditional formula that is loosely based on the lunar calendar, with the result that the dates do not always coincide with the actual astronomical dates. To further complicate matters, each sect within Theravada Buddhism tends to follow a slightly different calendar.




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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:31 am

ah the wonderful delusion of it all! a good lesson in nama-rupa if you ask me :D
With Metta

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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby fairylewis » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:11 am

In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April this is the most important of the Buddhist festivals. It celebrates the Buddha's birthday, and, for some Buddhists, also marks his enlightenment and death.
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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby appicchato » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:13 am

...I am ready to throw in the towel...


Smart move...in more ways than one...
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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:28 am

It is all symbolic, a correct and exact date is not necessary in my opinion. The correct one is the one your local temple or organization uses, as Mike says.

If you are just practicing privately at home or with your immediate family, any day is a good day for mindfulness, 8 precepts, and deeper practice. You can just pick whichever date you want. For example, the nearest Sunday to the full moon day of May (for Wesak), if Sundays work best for the least distraction.
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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:31 am

appicchato wrote:
...I am ready to throw in the towel...


Smart move...in more ways than one...


Thailand celebrates its traditional Thai New Year, also known as Songkran, between 13th and 15th April each year. What makes Songkran very unique to other New Year’s celebrations is The Pouring of Water ritual. In past, people poured a small amount of scented water to each other over their hands or shoulders as a way to show respect. Applying this old tradition to the modern lifestyle, people today enthusiastically splash water to each other on streets to ease heat of the country's hottest season.

heh-heh ~ I was caught on the street in Bangkok one Songkram, not knowing a thing about it, and was ambushed by a lot of young people lurking in alley ways near the tourist hotels with GIANT water pistols full of coloured water. Once I understood, it was great fun.

(Only thing that wasn't, was travelling on the freeway at 100 k.p.h. and having utilities pass with young men in the back spraying water out of large barrels over every vehicle they passed ~ lots of deaths of motor-cyclists and car drivers and their passengers .... not sure if anyone is ever charged .....)

with metta
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Re: 2010 Theravada Holidays...Help!

Postby Maitri » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:38 am

For example, I have looked at the 2010 Buddhist holidays calendars on three different web sites. One says Vesak is on May 17, one on May 26 and one on May 27. Which one is right? How do I know which one is right? How do I know which one to trust? So I could potentially be marking down all these holidays and then not even celebrate them on the right day, right?


Yes! Thank you for asking this question. In fact, I was wondering about this yesterday. I have a calendar which says it is on the 28th of May, but my local temple will be celebrating on the 22nd of May. I wanted to take the day off from work so I could have a little personal retreat for cultivation and study. I will go with the date our Vesak celebration is scheduled for, makes it much easier!
May all beings be well, happy, calm, and at ease.
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