Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do Buddhists Believe In Christmas?

Today, many people will give and receive gifts that will bring them some sense of happiness, so we can rejoice in their happiness. For example: a child may receive some wished-for toy, and experience delight thereby, and we can feel good about the child's delight---even we understand that such things are transient.

In another way, many people will, in the near future, experience a certain disenchantment... they will come to think that all of the material things are of no value, and they will begin to question themselves. So, we can feel a certain joy that others are turning their minds to the Dharma, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Today, it is traditional to give gifts, practice kindness and sympathetic joy, and consider spiritual matters. So, fundamentally, you can say that for a Buddhist, every day is like Christmas... and as Buddhists, we should not feel isolated or left-out from today's festivities. Today is, in fact, a perfect day to think upon the Four Immeasurables, to practice altruism and generosity, and contribute to the happiness of others. Today is an ideal day in which to care for animals, or to arrange for the liberation of small creatures that might otherwise be killed.

So, if you are a Buddhist, try to use today properly---just as you would any other day---and do not think too much about this being a holiday that doesn't belong to you. Nothing belongs to you, does it? And, if people ask you, "Do Buddhists believe in Christmas?" you can answer that yes, in fact, we certainly do.

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