During the three-month-long Buddhist Lent that lasts from July 25 to October 21 this year, Buddhists across the globe dedicate their time to learning the teachings of the Gautama Buddha. The enlightened spiritual leader taught Buddhists to adhere to a life of morality and meditation in order to achieve ‘Nirvana.’ According to the religion’s philosophy, Nirvana is experienced only when the followers achieve complete inner peace and enlightenment. These are a few teachings that are adhered to during Buddhist Lent. Are you tired of the pressures of the materialistic world and want to embark on a spiritual journey? Now is the perfect time to start.
History of Buddhist Lent
The Buddhist Lent is also known as Wan Khao Phansa or the ‘Rains Retreat’ by many people in the West. According to the tradition that corresponds to a three lunar month cycle, monks and people searching for peace in religion, often reside in the same monastery for the entire festival. They sleep and meditate in the same temple. The purpose of the retreat is to devote all hours of the day to learn more about the teachings of Buddha and the holy truth that he discovered.
During this month, Buddhists often stop eating meat and quit habits like smoking and alcohol. The simpler their life, the clearer their mind, body, and soul. In fact, there was a time when monks were not allowed to leave the temple during the three months, however, the practices have changed slightly over time. The reason for this limitation was that leaving the temple could result in the monks killing an insect by mistake, or even harming the plants and trees — all acts Buddha did not encourage. Preservation of life is what mattered the most to him.
As far as the special days of the Buddhist Lent are concerned, the first and last days are the most crucial. The full moon day of Waso is the day on which Buddha is believed to have been conceived. He also preached his first sermon on the full moon. During these three months, food is also distributed amongst the underprivileged, and all Buddhists try to do as many good deeds as possible.
Buddhist Lent timeline
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha is born.
Buddha gives a sermon to gain his first few followers.
Buddhism enters China.
Monk William of Rubruck introduces the West to Buddhism
Buddhist Lent FAQs
What is Buddhist Lent called?
Buddhist Lent is also called Vassa and is celebrated by Buddhists across the globe
How do Buddhists celebrate Lent?
The festival is celebrated by visiting temples and giving food to the poor.
What are some Buddhist ceremonies?
Buddhist ceremonies include meditation, mantras, and chanting of scriptures.
How to Observe Buddhist Lent
Visit the Buddhist temples in your city to bond with the rest of the community and celebrate the festival to its fullest. You can also plan to visit some renowned temples outside your city or even in another country.
According to tradition, lighting candles during the festival is essential. However, instead of lighting candles alone, gather your relatives and neighbors in your backyard or a park to hold a beautiful ceremony.
Read holy scriptures
To practice the festival properly, it is essential to connect with the teachings of Buddha. This can only be achieved by reading the religious scriptures
5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know About Buddhism
Buddhists around the world
Buddhists make up 6% of the world’s population
A Western term
Western scholars coined the term ‘Buddhism’ in the 1830s
Branches of Buddhism
The major Buddhist branches are Mahayana, Theravada, Vajrayana, and Zen Buddhism
China has a big Buddhist population
Half of the world’s Buddhists reside in China, according to the Pew Research Center.
The sacred object
The Bodhi Tree is sacred in Buddhism.
Why Buddhist Lent is Important
It’s a spiritual journey
Since the festival involves visiting temples, meditation, and reaffirming the teachings of Buddha, it can serve as a spiritual journey for many.
It helps to get in touch with the roots of Buddhism
Reading religious scriptures and meditation helps with getting back in touch with the roots of Buddhism. This festival is perfect for those who want to explore the religion!
It increases community bonding
The festival, which is almost three months long, allows several followers of Buddhism to gather together and meet on a regular basis. This results in increasing the unity of the followers of Buddha and also serves as a great way to bond as a community.
Buddhist Lent dates