Thursday, 14 July 2011

Buddhist Holy Days

Continuing posts in response to questions put to me by the representatives of the Welsh Assembly Government, Andrea Adams and Jo Clegg, the next question was about special Buddhist Holy Days.  Andrea explained that it was useful for them to be aware of such days so that they could  avoid them when arranging meetings.
          I replied that the special days of which I was aware were the birthday and paranirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha, the new year and twice monthly celebration of tsog'khorlo (gana puja).  Of these, those that I personally am most familiar with are Losar, Tibetan New Year, and tsog'khorlo.
Losar 1995 at our home – 111 candles fascinated
our six year old son.

 Losar is a time of gathering together and celebrating the arrival of a new year and an opportunity to begin again with a fresh intention to practice and develop kindness and awareness.  Andrea asked if this would be a time when we withdrew and were quiet.  This made me smile a little as it is a time when we are likely to be quite noisy, playing many instruments and singing, and enjoying one another's company.  We usually share a special meal – often momos with Golok sauce.  Momos are a Tibetan delicacy – like little pasties, steamed or deep fried.  Fierce Golok sauce is made from garlic, ginger and tamari.
December 2009 – photo by 'ö-Dzin Tridral

Tsog'khorlo is celebrated twice in the lunar month on the 10th and 25th days.  I explained that it is quite common for the exact days to not be formally celebrated by Buddhist organisations for practical reasons.  At the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre, for example, tsog'khorlo was celebrated on alternate Sundays.  We celebrate it on the first and third Tuesday of the month.
The magnificent chörten (stupa) in the centre of Boudha, Kathmandu, in Nepal is often beautifully decorated with coloured lights on special occasions.

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