Buddhism and New Year celebrations | Daily News

Buddhism and New Year celebrations

Nagadipa, is an island in the Jaffna peninsula. According to the Chronicle Mahavamsa, the name Nagadipa is related with the visit of Gautama Buddha. it marks Buddha’s second visit to the island.

People of past generations believed in gazing the new moon which appears 14 days before this day as a good omen.

‘Nava bag lasand dut - minisek – hunova ..janneyi’: -- [A man who has seen the tender moon of Bak should not be rejected]

Homage paid by the Buddhists to moon [nava sanda belima] in the present times though uninspiring and weak, centuries ago, a sightseer to Sigiriya marked his visit on its Mirror Wall with the above graffiti.

Buddha’s second visit

The enlightened one arrived in Sri Lanka, accompanied by Diety Samiddhisumana on a Bak Full Moon Poya day to settle a war between two factions of Naga community. The Buddha’s mission was to bring peace to this island. Bak Poya Day, therefore is a significant day for Sri Lanka.

In the fiftieth year of his enlightenment, the Buddha perceived with his divine eye, a dispute brewing between the two factions of Nagas led by two Kings Chulodara and Mahodara.

The Mahavamsa says, Mahodara ruled the Kingdom of the sea, who gave his younger sister in marriage to the Naga King. Chulodara was their son. His mother’s father has gifted to his mother a Gem studded throne. This magnificent chair resulted in a war between the uncle and nephew. The Buddha, visited Sri Lanka, preached his doctrine to the warring factions Chulodara and Mahodara at Nagadeepa, in Northern Sri Lanka.

The Buddha first created darkness while hovering in mid-air, above the battle field. He illuminated the whole area. When the Naga Community seeing this miracle, joyfully paid their obeisance. The Blessed one illustrated the value and the benefits that they accrue from unity and peaceful co-existence and the evils of discord.


DighajÄ nu once visited the Buddha and said: ‘Venerable Sir, we are lay men, leading the family life with wife and children. Would you teach us some doctrines which will be conductive to our happiness?’ The Buddha spoke on four things which are conductive to a man’s contentment in this samsara: one-- he should be skilled, efficient, energetic and earnest in whatever profession he is occupied, and he should know it thoroughly; second: he should look after his possession, which he has thus earned, with the sweat of his brow; third: he should have kalyÄ á¹‡a-mitta or good friends who are virtuous, learned, faithful, liberal and intelligent, who will direct him along the correct path away from immorality; fourth: he should use up reasonably his expenses, in proportion to his returns— meaning he should live within his resources and save a portion.


Give up all you have ever thought about yourself; start as if you knew nothing, and begin to understand ourselves for the first time. How to free ourselves from bonds of life? We have to investigate ourselves – not someone explaining while we listen, agreeing or disagreeing, but taking a journey of discovery into the most deep corners of our minds. And to take such a journey we cannot be burdened with prejudices, opinions, and conclusions - all that we have collected for thousands of years and more.

How can we be free to look and learn when from the moment we are born to the moment we die, our minds are shaped by a particular culture in the narrow pattern of the ‘I’`me’ and ‘mine’? We have been conditioned for centuries by nationality, religion, caste, language, class, custom, tradition, education, literature, art, convention and propaganda of all kinds, the pressures, the climate we live in, the food we eat, our friends, our family, our experiences -and therefore our reactions and responses to every problem are conditioned. You will never be free of it, and if you think, `I must be free of it’, you will fall into another form of conditioning. Even when you look at a tree and say, `That is a jak tree’, or `that is a mango tree’, the naming of the tree, which is general knowledge, it has so conditioned you that the word comes between you and actually observing the tree.

So it is for us to decide whether or not we wish for complete freedom. You can be free from doctrine very easily, by scrutinizing it, but the purpose for that freedom from dogma has its individual reaction since the desire to be free from a doctrine may be that it is no longer fashionable or opportune. If we say we do, then we have to understand the character and structure of freedom. Is it freedom when you are free from pain, free from anxiety? Or is freedom itself something completely different? You can be free from envy, resentment say, but isn’t that freedom a response and therefore not freedom at all?

Silly Nationalistic Belief

All youth, are in revolt against the world, and that is a good thing in itself, but revolt is not freedom because when you revolt it is a reaction and that response sets up its own pattern and you get trapped in that pattern. You can be free from patriotism because you believe in internationalism or because you sense it is no longer reasonably necessary to adhere to this silly nationalistic belief. You can effortlessly put that away. Or you may counter against some religious or political leader who has guaranteed you freedom as a result of restraint or revolt. But has such rationalism, such commonsense conclusion anything to do with liberty? You think it is something novel, but it is the old in a different mould. Any societal or political rebellion will inevitably slip back to the good old bourgeois frame of mind. If you say you are free from something, it is a rejoinder which will then become another reaction which will bring about another conventionality, another form of authority. In this way you can have a chain of responses and accept each reaction as independence. But it is not freedom; it is merely a link of a modified history which the mind adheres to.

There is only your relationship with the world - nothing else; there are no guides, no teachers.. When you understand this, what you feel, what you think, how you work, all self-pity goes. We will not thrive on blaming others, which is a type of self-pity.

If you examine very closely what is taking place and observe it, you will see that it stands on a rational conception. What is imperative is not a philosophy but to observe what is in fact taking place in our daily existence, inwardly and outwardly. And when we look at what is happening in the world we commence to understand that there is no external and internal process; there is only one unitary process, it is a whole movement. To be able to stare at this seems to me all that is required, because if we make out how to look, then the whole thing turns out to be very clear, and to look desires no viewpoint, no teacher. Nobody need tell you how you should look. You just look.

May all beings be happy