burma-1.jpg (3086 bytes) L I F E S T Y L E  ии  F E S T I V A L S

R  E  S  O  U   R  C  E 


Buddha Mind - get one, be one.


There are two aspects of Buddhist festivals to be considered: the secular and the religious. Because of the emphasis in the teachings on morality and restraint the average Buddhist monastery celebration can often appear quite a subdued affair. As discussed in the introduction the main focus of most festivals is the offering of a meal to the Sangha.

It is not uncommon in my experience that these two sides are celebrated in two separate venues, particularly in Asia. The main religious ceremonies almost invariably takes place in a monastery - if there is one available - and the more monks and nuns the better. In the West monasteries are not so common and often an ethnic community will hire a hall or some such and invite monastics for some part of the events. Usually the party is afterwards.

in white One Thai festival worth mentioning is Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year. This falls on April 13th.
There is a lovely story about a young boy called Dhanapala who grew into a much loved and respected young man. So much so that Kapila Brahma, the god with four faces, became jealous, thinking that people had more faith in Dhanapala than in himself. He challenged the boy with three questions and if he could answer then Kapila would cut off his head - if he lost, he would also lose his head. Needless to say Dhanapala succeeded but before Kapila fulfilled his promise he proclaimed:
"I am mighty and powerful! If my head is dropped the earth will burst into flames. If my head is dropped into the ocean it will dry up completely. If it is thrown in the air there will be no rain for seven years."
To avoid this Kaplia ordered his seven daughters to take turns carrying his head in a big gold bowl, each for one year. Songkran is the day both the new year - and the head - change hands.
The four faces of Kapila Brahma symbolise the Four Brahma Viharas - Divine Abidings: Loving kindness, compassion, joy for others and equanimity. If people do not practice these - carry them carefully - or throw them away - there would be great trouble in society.