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Thread: Zen Holidays??

  1. #1

    Zen Holidays??

    Hello everyone,

    I once asked “Does Buddhism have holidays?” on a large non-denominational Buddhist forum and could get no consistent replies (I got the impression that it depends on the tradition followed along with the country of origin etc.).

    And so, I thought that now would be a good time to revisit this question, now that I have been with Soto Zen a little while. Does Soto Zen, or even Zen in general have holidays or special days of the year for remembrance or celebration?

    Perhaps ultimately everyday is a holiday! But I’m referring more to the conventional sense.

    Thanks all,
    Cheers,
    KElly

  2. #2
    Hi Kelly,

    Yes, moment to moment is the Buddhist holiday.

    But with regard to 'conventional' holidays in Soto Zen, the big one coming up is 'Rohatsu', to commemorate the day of Buddha's Enlightenment (Jodo-e). Here is how one Zen center has adapted it to the West. I do not think that I will be doing the full 10 day Sesshin this year (due to the move back to Japan at around the same time ... I am planning for a long Sesshin next year), but we will do a shorter Retreat at that time. Rohatsu rune up to December 8th.

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,3516,0,0,1,0

    April 8th is Hanamatsuri, the Buddha's Birthday. It also is marked by a Sesshin much like Rohatsu.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha's_Birthday

    Other Holidays are really just Japanese cultural events, not strictly Buddhist: New Year’s (family's often come to visit the graves of their ancestors)

    http://www.familyculture.com/holidays/j ... w_year.htm

    Setsubun-e (Throwing of Good Luck Soybeans, in February):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Setsubun

    haru no o-higan (Spring Equinox)

    O-bon (The day when the spirits of dead ancestors pay a return visit):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival

    aki no o-higan (Autumn Equinox)

    As I said, really only the Buddha's B-day and Enlightenment Day are the strictly 'Buddhist' Holidays, maybe 'Obon'.

    I am proposing the we start a tradition of gift giving for Rohatsu in December, to compete with Christmas and Channukah. But, as this is a Zen tradition, we should only give empty boxes. What do you think?

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Other cultures, such as China and Korea and Thailand, have their own variations on the Buddhist Holidays, of course.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I am proposing the we start a tradition of gift giving for Rohatsu in December, to compete with Christmas and Channukah. But, as this is a Zen tradition, we should only give empty boxes. What do you think?
    :lol: I love it, Jundo! It reminds me of this excellent Zen book called, "The Gift of Nothing" by Patrick McDonnell. Highly recommended.

    http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Nothing-Patr ... 225&sr=1-1

    Gassho,
    Keith

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Kelly,

    I am proposing the we start a tradition of gift giving for Rohatsu in December, to compete with Christmas and Channukah. But, as this is a Zen tradition, we should only give empty boxes. What do you think?
    That actually does sound kinda fun! We could have a Kris Kringle exchange between treeleafers. As we unwrap our presents we can have John Cage's 4'33" playing in the background! :lol:

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I am proposing the we start a tradition of gift giving for Rohatsu in December, to compete with Christmas and Channukah. But, as this is a Zen tradition, we should only give empty boxes. What do you think?
    Can we mail our friends blank cards too or is that a bit much?

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