For the community minded Buddhist in Southern California, May is a time of much bustling about. The region is blessed with a vibrant Buddhist community or laypersons and monastics of all different traditions. We also do Vesak up right, again and again and again.
It is not uncommon for each temple or center to offer their own celebration while also participating in one or two larger non-sectarian pan-temple ceremonies. Throwing in things like Tzu Chi, student groups, and other organizations, May can be a time of great celebration, and a time where a great number of brown cardboard boxes need moving.
Still, my favorite Buddha Day of all time, was two years ago when no one came. Read more
No, this is not a belated Chinese New Year greeting. This weekend begins the celebration of the Southeast Asian New Year!
This festival is widely celebrated in nations that are predominantly Theravada Buddhist, so this theme is both fitting and auspicious for our first post! You may often hear/see this celebration called Songkran in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, Thingyan in Burma and Aluth Avurudhu in Sri Lanka. This new year is also celebrated in Nepal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Punjab and Bengal (including Bangladesh). Apparently it’s not as much of a fest elsewhere in South Asia.
In Southeast Asia, this festival coincides with the hottest time of the year, and accordingly is more popularly known as the Water Festival due to people throwing water on each other. Sometimes it can really get out of hand. Keep this in mind if you intend to go to temple this weekend!