Dec 1, 2009

Time of the Season

Buddhism has been called the "first world religion". This was not only because it was a religion (in fact, it owes its continued existence to its dissemination outside India). It is also a world religion because it tolerates and embraces other faiths, often absorbing some of their best points, then moving on to a new synthesis.

There is neither creation nor a Creator. The Universe always existed and always will. Your life is eternal and one with the eternal universe. Most of us who live in the U.S. were raised to believe in God. Polls consistently show more than 90% of Americans believe in God or a supreme being, usually as articulated in some form of Christianity or Judaism. This does not mean that Americans can never practice Buddhism wholeheartedly or that we must give up our faith in order to learn more about Buddhism. Actually, most Buddhists practicing today in American are former Christians or Jews. You can begin your study and practice while you continue to attend church or synagogue.

So now how does this pertain to that time of the season- Christmas?

Buddhism highly values each country's traditions and culture. There is a Buddhist concept of  "Zuiho bini" which says that so long as no seriously offensive act is involved, then even if one were to depart to some slight degree from the teachings of Buddhism, it would be better to avoid going against the manners and customs of the country. Although Buddhists do not believe in a God, as stated here, and I will later post about Jesus and Buddha- many Nichiren Buddhists I know, celebrate the Christmas Holiday. Its a joyous time to be with the ones you love or appreciate for the past year and all that you have accomplished. Christmas or New Year's can also be wonderful opportunity for Human Revolution.

I was originally brought up Catholic, but that doesn't stop me from putting a tree up, gift giving, singing Christmas carols, etc. The bigger message here is,

Peace is the noblest goal of Human beings. Our practice is always about the peace movement, everywhere it exists. The collective goal of Nichiren Buddhists is World Peace, or kosen-rufu in Japanese. Kosen-rufu means to widely teach Buddhism, thereby allowing peaceful principles to transform the lives of the people from within. In other words, world peace through individual enlightenment.

Its all begins with you, peace within yourself. How can be teach Peace on Earth when we don't practice peace within ourselves or in our environment? If people cannot see the dignity, creativity and potential of their own lives, they wont value it in others.

For this holiday season, I chant that we each learn to treasure the value of our own lives, our family, friends and the world. Celebrate with one another and most importantly with yourself. Trim a tree, laugh, sing, give a gift of gratitude, go sleigh riding, smile and be merry!

Sources- (sgi-usa
            The Buddha in your Rearview Mirror 

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