02 January 2011

2011 Buddhist Holidays

* 1/1: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful of the peace, joy, and beauty of the moment.

* 1/4: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught of Four Noble Truths - suffering is part of life; suffering is caused by desire for (and attachment to) sense-pleasures, wealth, power, dogma, and changelessness; freedom from suffering (nirvana) is possible; and the Eightfold Path is the means to freedom from suffering.

* 1/19: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 2/2: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught an Eightfold Path to enlightenment - right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

* 2/3 to 2/6: Hsih Nien/Suhl/Tet--Chinese and East Asian Lunar New Year (Year 4709: the Hare).

* 2/5: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that you, and all that is, are in the process of transformation.

* 2/15: Nehan--Zen Buddhist celebration of the Buddha's paranirvana (483 BCE). Forms of Buddhism include Hinayana (Theravada), Mahayana (Zen/Japanese and Pure Land/Chinese), and Vajrayana (Tantra/Tibetan).

* 2/18: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 3/3: Sojong Day--Tibetan Buddhist day of fasting, confession, and reparation for harm done. [Observed primarily by monks and nuns.]

* 3/4: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right understanding and right thought are the means to wisdom. Wisdom is the realization of impermanence and interdependence.

* 3/5: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that you are connected to each and every sentient being that has ever existed.

* 3/5 to 3/19: Losar/Tibetan Buddhist New Year (Year 2138: the Iron Hare) & Monlam Chenmo/Great Prayer Festival--Commemorates miracles performed by the Buddha. Rituals, dances, and sculptures are offered to drive out evil spirits and to protect and benefit all sentient beings.

* 3/19: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 3/21: Haru-no-Higan--Day Japanese Buddhists mark the time of change by meditating on the impermanence of death. [a/k/a Ohigan]

* 3/23: Chinese Buddhist festival of Bodhisattva Kuan Yin/Kannon/Tara; celebrates Her "birth." She declared women the spiritual equals of men. [2nd Chinese month, 19th day]

* 4/2: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that the joys and suffering of others are your joys and suffering.

* 4/3: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right understanding is understanding things the way they are without ignorance or delusion. And right thought is the intention and commitment to develop selfless detachment, loving-kindness, harmlessness, and compassion.

* 4/8: Zen Buddhist celebration of the Buddha's birth (563 BCE). Buddhists study sacred texts, meditate, pray, chant mantras, and make devotional offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

* 4/18: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 5/3: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right speech, right action, and right livelihood are the means to ethical conduct, which is the means to develop loving-kindness and compassion for all living beings. He embraced moderation, rejecting hedonism.

* 5/7: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that everything you do, or fail to do, affects all sentient beings.

* 5/10: Chinese Buddhist festival celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana of Fo Shihchiamouni (Buddha Shakyamuni/Siddhartha Gautama) (563-483 BCE). [a/k/a Buddha Day] [4th Chinese month, 8th day]

* 5/17: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 6/1: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught the Five Precepts of Morality - refrain from harming living beings, refrain from taking that which is not given, refrain from sexual misconduct, refrain from false and harmful speech, and refrain from intoxicants that cause heedlessness.

* 6/4: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for mindfully seeing the interdependence of all things at all times.

* 6/15 (Th B 5/17): Saga Dawa Duchen--Tibetan (and Theravadin) Buddhist festival celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE). [Theravadin Buddhist festival a/k/a Wesak, Vesak, Vesakha Puja, Visakha Puja, Budh Purnima, Buddha Jayanti]

* 6/15: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 7/1: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that ignorance (misunderstanding), desire (greed), aversion (hate), passion (anger), and ego (selfishness and pride) generate negative volitional action, which generates negative karma, which generates negative consequences, which generates suffering.

* 7/2: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that alienation and hunger for possessions results from ignorance of interconnectedness.

* 7/12 to 7/19: Chinese Buddhist festival of Kuan Yin/Kannon/Tara, Supreme Goddess of Nature and Perfect Buddha of many emanations; celebrates Her enlightenment and Her bodhisattva vow to help all sentient beings. Buddhists act daily on their vows to help all sentient beings. [6th Chinese month, 12th to 19th days]

* 7/13 to 7/15: Obon--Zen Buddhist festival honoring departed ancestors. [a/k/a Bon]

* 7/15: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 7/30: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration establish the mental discipline needed to end suffering.

* 8/3 (Th B 7/15): Chokhor Duchen--Tibetan (and Theravadin) Buddhist celebration of the Buddha's first teaching.

* 8/6: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that desire for power over others results from ignorance of interdependence.

* 8/13: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 8/29: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right effort is the will to prevent negative thoughts from arising that could generate harmful words or action, the will to eliminate negative thoughts that have arisen, the will to generate positive thoughts, and the will to maintain positive thoughts.

* 9/3: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that harm to the Earth and sentient beings results from ignorance of interdependence.

* 9/12: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 9/23: Aki-no-Higan--Day Japanese Buddhists mark the time of change by meditating on the impermanence of life.

* 9/27: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right mindfulness is complete awareness of breathing, self, and surroundings, and their relationship in the present moment.

* 10/1: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for being mindful that fear and hatred of others results from ignorance of interconnectedness.

* 10/5: Day honoring Zen Buddhist philosopher Bodhidharma (470-543), who believed one could attain Buddhahood by realizing one's own Buddha nature. [a/k/a Bodhidharma Day]

* 10/11: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 10/15: Chinese Buddhist festival of Goddess Kuan Yin/Kannon/Tara; celebrates Her attainment of Bodhisattvahood. [9th Chinese month, 19th day]

* 10/26: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that right concentration is emptying the mind of negative thoughts, focusing on positive thoughts, and one-pointed meditation to realize equanimity.

* 11/5: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for mindfully seeing and acting with compassion for the Earth and all creatures.

* 11/10: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 11/17: Lha Bab Duchen--Day Tibetan Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's descent from heaven after teaching the Dharma there.

* 11/25: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Ten Perfections to be mastered through meditation on the Buddha's teachings are generosity, morality, selfless detachment, understanding, perseverance, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness, and equanimity. These generate wisdom and compassion.

* 12/3: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for mindfully seeing and acting with compassion for the poor and oppressed.

* 12/8: Rohatsu--Zen Buddhist celebration of the Buddha's enlightenment. [a/k/a Bodhi Day]

* 12/10: Amitabha Buddha Day--Day Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhists do good deeds and chant the name of Buddha God Amitabha/Omito/Amida to gain entry to His Pure Land and aid in attaining nirvana.

* 12/24: Shakyamuni Buddha Day--Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on the Buddha's teachings and strive to fulfill the Precepts. The Buddha taught that each person is responsible for ending his/her own suffering.
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