Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Chinese culture, On the Path, Western Holidays

How do Buddhists Celebrate Christmas?

IMG_3701 IMG_3795 IMG_3798 IMG_2901With Joy! It’s a popular holiday in the West so when i became Buddhist and traveled to different temples in the USA, I found that nearly everyone in those places big and small celebrates with the rest of the country!

Strange you may think, but no…. think about it.

To me Christmas is about the practice of generosity. Santa is a giver of gifts that are deserved and mysteriously leaves them overnight to everyone on Christmas Eve. to wake up to on Christmas morning. He wears red, the color of the heart in Chinese theory called the 5 elements.

The Christmas tree, an evergreen, the sign of life in wintertime, every culture notices this type of tree. Germans long before Christianity used to bring in pine tree boughs to freshen their home in the winter and add color and life in their harsh winters. Later they would bring trees into their home and eventually began to decorate them. Then Christianity came, but nothing was done about the tree issue until the Victorian age when the created myth about the trees began to be commercialized.

I love the lights too. the lights sparkle and immediately make you feel happy upon seeing them! I have a tiny white desktop tree with optic fibers that change color. I love that. I have red lights up on my doorway to the Buddha hall and lining the Buddha altar. I love the colors of Christmas time too. It does not bother me to know that Christians took the holiday that used to be pagan, that probably started as a way to keep the homes from smelling bad in the winter! Pine scents have been used for centuries to deodorize rooms!  There is often a reference to ‘luminosity’ in referring to the mind, this is the goal of many Buddhists who sincerely meditate and particularly attainable for those with discernment and skill.

I rarely go out during the holidays.  However, I do visit mom during this time of year.  Also this year I am going to celebrate Christmas Day with her and the family and I am bringing healthy snack food for them, that will be my contribution.  We have soup and sandwiches on Christmas Day.  Also they play Christmas Bingo, which is just drawing numbers and picking a numbered present.  I hardly go for Christmas celebrations due to the weather or mostly due to the fact I am not too attached to the day.  Mom asked me to come and convinced me to bring my daughter who usually serves up a Christmas meal to her friends without family nearby and like she does so for every holiday.  I bake goodies and breads for them to take home afterwards every holiday, they need fresh food besides pizza!

Remember Buddhas Bodhi Day is also in December around 18th or so. Remember Christmas can be a fun day, it’s not about meeting the needs for wished for gifts, it is about the act of generosity, you can give time, acts of kindness, presents if you like, and food.  All from the genuine wish to give and nothing more than that.  Oh, I stay away from the stores and only buy groceries during the holidays… but love to buy discounted Christmas items afterwords for dharma crafts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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