Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Buddhists celebrate the Summer Solstice (Midsummer, Litha)

Ancient numinous pagan festivals, with their evocative names
 and customs, offer an escape from the soulless,
 stressed-out, dehumanised,
  over-regulated and proceduralised existence 
that is modern urban life.

Gimme that Old Time Religion

Among people living in northern latitudes, the summer solstice (Midsummer, Litha) has always had a spiritual significance.

Midsummer Eve in Poland - Henryk Siemiradzki

Although not a traditional Buddhist festival, as Buddhism transculturates itself into the West, many Buddhists have begun celebrating the festival as part of their rituals...

Midsummer Eve - Edward Robert Hughes

'We're coming into a very interesting time.
The summer solstice is approaching, and I'd like to talk to you a little bit about the summer solstice. There are four times of tremendous power that occur every year. There are others that occur at different times, but there are four that you can count on, and those are the solstices and the equinoxes.  

'Midsummer Day, the summer solstice, is celebrated annually at Gampo Abbey and across the Shambhala mandala. The event is one of a number which celebrate the change of the seasons...'  

'Maitrivajri writes with news of a cycle of celebration at the FWBO’s London Buddhist Centre: an honouring of the little-known Five Prajnas, the ‘female’ counterparts of the Five Buddhas in the well-known Five-Buddha Mandala.  She says - “This year we are ritually celebrating the female Buddhas, or Prajnas, on the day and time of the year associated with each of them. We began the cycle with the Summer Solstice and female Buddha Mamaki. We are performing outdoor rituals...  
- Female Buddhas celebrated at London Buddhist Centre  

Mamaki - Midsummer Buddha

'There is still a lot of pagan in me, as I've said before. It is still my basic cultural paradigm for interacting with the world with whatever Buddhist sensibilities I've developed on top of it.

I've always appreciated, if not always dramatically celebrated, the wheel of the year as a sensible series of holidays (or "holy days") during the year. Of these, I've always appreciated the solstices the most. They are the points of the greatest light and darkness in our daily experience of the world...'
- Open Buddha    

- Sean Robsville

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