Category: Buddhist holidays
Theravāda (Sanskrit: थेरवाद, Pali, literally "school of the elder monks") is a branch of Buddhism that uses the teaching of the Pāli Canon, a collection of the oldest recorded Buddhist texts, as its doctrinal core, but also includes a rich diversity of traditions and practices that have developed over its long history of interactions with cultures and communities. It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is practised by minority groups in Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Nepal, and Vietnam. In addition, the diaspora of all of these groups as well as converts around the world practise Theravāda Buddhism.
Theravada New Year - Buddhist festival celebrated followers of Theravada. Celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April. During the festival at the monasteries and churches are built sand hills, symbolizing Mount Meru - the center of the universe and the abode of the deities in the Buddhist cosmology. On Buddha statues wearing robes, which are then distributed to the monks. In Burma and Laos, there is a custom to buy live fish and release it into the wild, thus showing compassion for living beings. In Thailand, made to pour water on each other with water and sprinkle Buddha statues.
Theravāda promotes the concept of vibhajjavāda "teaching of analysis". This doctrine says that insight must come from the aspirant's experience, application of knowledge, and critical reasoning. However, the scriptures of the Theravadin tradition also emphasize heeding the advice of the wise, considering such advice and evaluation of one's own experiences to be the two tests by which practices should be judged. Theravāda orthodoxy takes the seven stages of purification as its basic outline of the path to be followed. The Theravāda Path starts with learning, to be followed by practise, culminating in the realization of Nirvana.
Throughout the Pali Canon, two characteristics of all saṅkhāra (conditioned phenomena) and one characteristic of all dhammas are mentioned. The Theravāda tradition has grouped them together. Insight into these three characteristics is the entry to the Buddhist path:
Anicca (impermanence): All conditioned phenomena are subject to change, including physical characteristics, qualities, assumptions, theories, knowledge, etc. Nothing is permanent, because, for something to be permanent, there has to be an unchanging cause behind it. Since all causes are recursively bound together, there can be no ultimate unchanging cause.
Dukkha (suffering): Craving causes suffering, since what is craved is transitory, changing, and perishing. The craving for impermanent things causes disappointment and sorrow. There is a tendency to label practically everything in the world, as either "good", "comfortable" or "satisfying"; or "bad", "uncomfortable", and "unsatisfying". Labeling things in terms of like and dislike creates suffering. If one succeeds in giving up the tendency to label things, and freeing himself from the instincts that drive him towards attaining what he himself labels collectively as "liking", he attains the ultimate freedom. The problem, the cause, the solution and the implementation, all of these are within oneself, not outside.
Anatta (not-self): all dhammas lack a fixed, unchanging 'essence'; there is no permanent, essential ātta (self). A living being is a composite of the five aggregates (khandhas), which are the physical forms (rupa), feelings or sensations (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vinnana), none of which can be identified as one's Self. From the moment of conception, all entities (including all living beings) are subject to a process of continuous change. A practitioner should, on the other hand, develop and refine his or her mind to a state so as to see through this phenomenon. Truly understanding this counter-intuitive concept of Buddhism requires direct and personal experience. This is given in vipassanā practice, closely watching the continuous changes in the Five Aggregates.
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