Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays! An "Air Jordan" Xmas (video)

Wisdom Quarterly (Holiday Committee)

Buddhist gift giving holidays?
Yahoo! Answers UK & Ireland; Wisdom Quarterly
Q: Do Buddhists give gifts to one another on any special occasion/holiday? I know Buddhists living in Christian countries often give gifts at Christmas. But in strictly Buddhist countries, do children/family members ever receive gifts on holidays?

A: Many more holidays in Buddhist countries, like Thailand, involve giving alms (dana) to monastics rather than gifts to friends and family. Days like Magha Puja or Asalha Puja include supporting the Buddhist Sangha (Monastic Order) and alms for monastics (canned goods, etc.) Vesak, which is often called "Buddhist Xmas" in the West, is one of the most sacred Buddhist days and also includes gifts of charity.

In a lot of traditional Buddhist cultures, like Sri Lanka, birthdays are celebrated by giving gifts -- which is a great form of making merit -- instead of getting them. The goal is to reduce greed, one of the great causes of unhappiness. But due to Western influence, many Buddhists also get them nowadays. More
  • Thais celebrate international holidays from Halloween to Xmas, using the opportunity the way the West does -- capitalizing on it (
Xmas festivities begin with Las Posadas, nine consecutive days of candelight processions and lively parties starting Dec. 16th. In urban and villages neighborhoods throughout Mexico, youngsters gather each afternoon to reenact the holy family's quest for lodging in Roman imperial Bethlehem (

A Buddhist Solution to Xmas
Wisdom Quarterly
I grew up in a brown, liberal-leaning, West Coast family, Catholic with Puritanical roots. We celebrated the Holiday Season in typical California fashion: the dying tree, the polyester batting snow, the annual TV specials with all the best Claymation and super-catchy ditties like Little Drummer Boy.

My memories of the holiday are mixed. There weren't always gifts -- one year there was none -- but there was always food, family, and alcohol. O, how the adults loved their alcohol!

My parents went into debt to get presents under the tree. We took it for granted. My friend at school talked of going to Temple. It wasn't a Japanese temple, maybe Jewish or a lesser Christian sect, like 7th Day Adventist.

The Church in all its manifestations seemed miserable, a punishment, and I had no idea I would one day be saved from it all by becoming a Buddhist. Now as a Buddhist looking back, I can appreciate it and be grateful. The greed made me American, the Pagan roots Scandinavian-Irish-German-French, the mixed Latin ethnicity Californian, the friends tolerant, and family made it sweet.

We were all searching for something beyond our cultural inheritance. I never dreamed I would find the Buddhist roots of Christianity, Judaism, and so much of what we claim as Western (Greco-Roman). And California was the place to find it. I grew up with a small Zen Buddha, I still have it, and a beautiful Kwan Yin figurine. I asked my mom about them. "That's the Chinese Virgin Mary," she explained, "and the other is just Chinatown tchotchke."
Hotei, Zen Santa, who carried a bag of gifts and candy for children was a monk and bodhisattva. He is often called Happy or Fat Buddha even though he is NOT a buddha.

A Buddhist Problem with Christmas
Jess Row (
I grew up in a white, liberal, East Coast family, Unitarian with Presbyterian roots, and we celebrated Christmas in a typical American way: the tree, the school pageant, the Burl Ives carols, the Claymation Rudolph on television. Most of my memories of the holiday are happy ones. But... More

If my brother could rap or draw or do stand up impersonations

A Traditional Scandinavian Christmas
Varla Ventura
Lock up your daughters. And your sons! No child, strike that, no mortal is safe in the dark hours of Christmas Eve. For there lurks the Christmas troll, drunk on spirits and cavorting with the witches, waiting to trick you into a midnight ride. Early 20th century author Clement A. Miles was a historian and an anthropologist of sorts. His 1912 collection of Christmas traditions which he deemed “both Pagan and Christian” is not just a cross-cultural look at the origins of Santa Claus. Here you will find werewolves, bogeys, and trolls. You will find curses and hexes and imminent death, rituals of the dead and goblin offerings. You will be warned of The Devil and cautioned against laziness. If you are in Bavaria, take heed of the Berchte -- a wretched bogey who cuts the stomachs open of naughty... More

"Live Your Life" (and stop chasing that paper) from our favorite
hardcore Christian White Rap Screamo group Plea for Purging

Let go of my Air Jordans or I'll kill ya, muthalover!

The arrival of Nike's new Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords in stores just in time for Christmas brought pandemonium all over the country. Thousands lined up across the country to shell out $180 for the black and white "J's" that went on sale at midnight. Police were called to shopping centers in Indiana, Florida, Texas, and Virginia among other states to control crowds of hundreds lining up for the shoes. "I don't remember anything like this in the recent past at all, definitely not with the iPhone or anything like that," Linda Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, told More

Xmas in neighboring Mexico (

Traditions of giving in Buddhism
Peter Joseph (Alliance Magazine, Dec. 1, 2000)
Buddhism acknowledges that we exist in a vast network of life, continuously the recipients of the generosity of others. Recognizing this fact, we can choose to orient ourselves progressively to others, developing loving-kindness towards them and learning to give in all ways to all beings. That is the traditional view and the exhortation to practice.... When they begin to explore Buddhism, most people are struck by how ubiquitous the practice of generosity is.... Starting with the Buddha, it has always been emphasized that a progressively open-handed and open-hearted orientation to life is essential... More

No comments: