It has been my hope for awhile to make some traditional Buddhist holidays a bit more "family friendly". So, I would like to ask as many Sangha members as possible, especially those with kids, to try out some or all of the suggestions on the following webpage. Please post here in this thread about your experiences so that we can grow this further for the future ... perhaps start some "new timeless traditions!"
I want to thank Yugen and some of his helpers for coordinating this in the coming days and weeks.
A PEACEFUL ROHATSU, every-ONE!
Why this project?
It is often said that Buddhist groups in the West are somehow not very welcoming of children, and that we lack some things (found in both Buddhism in Asia and in other religions in the West) to communicate basic teachings and practices to kids. In both Asian Buddhism and for other religions in the West (but not yet so much for "Western Buddhism"), "religious holidays" can be a time for families to unite, to bond through customs and practices, and to bring children into the spirit of the time through the celebration. Holidays can be an important time to expose children to Buddhist teachings and values in ways that leave a lasting, positive impression for the future. Is there a way to make various Buddhist holidays more "kid friendly" while preserving the traditional message, values and customs of the original?
WITHOUT the department stores (by emphasizing, for example, giving to charity, unselfish giving to others, the making of homemade or Buddhism related presents), WITHOUT the glitz and commercialism, we can turn Rohatsu and some other holidays (such as Vesak in the Spring) into FAMILY FRIENDLY events WHILE PRESERVING THE TEACHINGS. The central messages of the holidays ... selflessness, generosity, non-attachment, peace, awakening, compassion, loving kindness ... can be both PRESERVED and PASSED ON to children in a positive way through the vehicle of these holidays. The message on these holidays is now conveyed through chanting and ritual ... so why not through joyous songs and home rituals that the whole family can partake in? NOTHING of the meaning, traditions and authenticity of these holidays need be lost.
The ideas on our "Buddhist Family Holidays" webpage are a work in progress ... and, we hope, will be further developed and grow with your input. Thus, there is a place for your ideas and comment on each subject (on the webpage and here in this thread), and we look forward to your input and contributions. Particularly, notice our "holiday song writing" and "story writing & art" sections, where we hope to receive submissions from all our Buddhist musicians, writers, artists, animators and the like who wish to create works that may, we hope, become a beloved part of these holidays for years to come.
Please put some or all of the ideas into practice in YOUR HOUSE, and report to us on how it all goes ...
Our webpage is ......
PLEASE LOOK WHERE IT SAYS "ROHATSU HOLIDAY IDEAS" ...
...and for more about ROHATSU, please look here: (http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddhis.../g/Rohatsu.htm)