Buddhists join global New Year celebrations

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Buddhists around the world celebrated the new year on January 1, alongside other Buddhists of various religions and cultures. Historically, Buddhists have followed the lunar calendar, which celebrates the new year on February 10 this year, beginning the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. However, as world cultures interact, more and more Buddhists in the East and West have begun to add the Gregorian New Year to their holiday calendar.

This year, Buddhists in Thailand joined government leaders in a grand celebration. “End of Year Songs: Thai Way, Buddhist Way, Sufficiency Way” took place at Phutthamonthon Buddhist Park, Nakhon Pathom Province, from the evening of December 31 until the early hours of January 1. There were also a number of Dharma lectures led by eminent monks, chanting of mantras, as well as the distribution of holy water and the lighting of sacred fires to signify purification and renewal.

Buddhist lay people at Phutthamonthon Buddhist Park in Thailand. From pattayamail.com
Buddhist laypeople chant at Wat Pathum Wanaram in Bangkok. At cbsnews.com

In northern Thailand, tourists have flocked to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, located on a hilltop in rural Phetchabun province. There, tourists prayed and meditated all night and watched the sunrise. “Even though there were a lot of people, the area was buzzing with joy thanks to the cool weather,” said temple manager Ekachai Kasetkorn. (The nation)

Buddhists in Japan continue a tradition of ringing the giant bell at Zojo-ji, a Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The tradition of bell ringing, which takes place in temples across the country on New Year's Eve, is known as joya no kane (Jp. midnight bell). As the old year passes into the new year, the temple bells ring 108 times, each ring signifying one of the material afflictions that beings face in samsara. At many temples, the public can purchase tickets to participate and ring the bell with the monks.

Lay people join monks when the midnight bell rings at Zojo-ji in Tokyo. Taken from voanews.com

Buddhists across the United States also took part in the Japanese bell ringing ceremony as the San Francisco Asian Art Museum welcomed visitors invited to ring a 108th-century bronze bell, "to curb the 4 mortal desires which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humanity,” the museum explained. (KRONXNUMX)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered a message to mark the occasion, writing in part:

Despite the many challenges we face today, I am optimistic that by realizing how interconnected we all are in the oneness of humanity, we can all work to live more meaningful and meaningful lives. create a better world.

As human beings, we share the common wish to be happy and free from pain. We are social animals who depend on others to survive. This is why, as I often say, we must work for the good of others. If we can't help them, we should at least make sure we don't hurt them. I have discovered that helping others is the best way to ensure happiness and calm for ourselves.

I also firmly believe that we can only find peace in the world when we find peace within. Every human being has the potential to cultivate inner peace and, in doing so, contribute to the peace of our global community.

We must try to cultivate compassion and inner peace, whatever our nationality or religion, we can contribute to the well-being and happiness of all humanity. If the last century was that of violence, it is our responsibility to make this century one of dialogue.

(His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)

At dalailama.com
photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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