Category: Holidays » Buddhist holidays
In Mahayana countries the new year starts on the first full moon day in January. However, the Buddhist New Year depends on the country of origin or ethnic background of the people. As for example, Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese celebrate late January or early February according to the lunar calendar, whilst the Tibetans usually celebrate about one month later.
Mahāyāna (Sanskrit: महायान mahāyāna, literally the "Great Vehicle") is one of two (or three, under some classifications) main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. The Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana is sometimes classified as a part of Mahayana Buddhism, but some scholars may consider it as a different branch altogether.
According to the teachings of Mahāyāna traditions, "Mahāyāna" also refers to the path of the Bodhisattva seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called "Bodhisattvayāna", or the "Bodhisattva Vehicle". A bodhisattva who has accomplished this goal is called a samyaksaṃbuddha, or "fully enlightened Buddha". A samyaksaṃbuddha can establish the Dharma and lead disciples to enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhists teach that enlightenment can be attained in a single lifetime, and this can be accomplished even by a layperson.
The Mahāyāna tradition is the largest major tradition of Buddhism existing today, with 53.2% of practitioners, compared to 35.8% for Theravāda and 5.7% for Vajrayāna in 2010. In the course of its history, Mahāyāna Buddhism spread from India to various other Asian countries such as Bangladesh, China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Malaysia, and Mongolia. Major traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism today include Zen, Korean Seon, Chinese Chán, Pure Land, Tiantai, and Nichiren. It may also include the Vajrayāna Buddhist traditions of Shingon, Tendai and Tibetan Buddhism, which add esoteric teachings to the Mahāyāna tradition.
Mahāyāna constitutes an inclusive tradition characterized by plurality and the adoption of new Mahāyāna sūtras in addition to the earlier Āgama texts. Mahāyāna sees itself as penetrating further and more profoundly into the Buddha's Dharma.
There is also a tendency in Mahāyāna sūtras to regard adherence to these sūtras as generating spiritual benefits greater than those that arise from being a follower of the non-Mahāyāna approaches to Dharma. Thus the Śrīmālādevī Sūtra claims that the Buddha said that devotion to Mahāyāna is inherently superior in its virtues to the following the śrāvaka or pratyekabuddha paths.
The main imperative of the entire Buddhist rituals associated with the New Year, it was deliverance from all sins and bad, accumulated in the previous year. The central ritual is still the penitential day post, followed by the ceremony of burning "rubbish" - black pyramid, symbolizing the accumulated evil spirits placed in the proximity of the goats terrain. The rituals of the first two weeks of the month are connected, first, with the celebration of new year, and secondly - to "fifteen great miracles" Shakyamuni Buddha and his victories over the six teachers - infidels.
By the New Year the Mahayana adherents are prepared in advance, the cattle slaughtered for the future, as in the days of the festival itself is prohibited from doing. The celebration takes place in every home. Hang on the rope new outfits, shaking up all the clothes. Cook meat - lamb, beef or horse meat.
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