Celebrating the 83rd birthday of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, born in 1935 C.E. in northeastern Tibet. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan government in exile and is revered as the fourteenth in a succession of manifestations of Avalokiteśvara, the enlightened being (bodhisattva) who embodies compassion in Buddhist practice.
A Japanese festival to honor deceased ancestors, usually involving the lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, and folk dancing. Locally this festival is celebrated at various times in July and August.
A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem—the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community]—on behalf of their ancestors.
This day celebrates the ancient Hindu sage Krishna Dvaipayana, also known as Veda Vyāsa, who is credited as the compiler of the sacred Vedas, the author of the Eighteen Puranas (supplementary texts), and credited with writing the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata. The term “gurū” refers to a teacher or remover of darkness. Jains and Buddhists also mark this day as an opportunity to thank their teachers.
This day commemorates the historical Buddha’s first sermon, called “Turning of the wheel of Dharma (Dhamma),” following his own enlightenment. The following day marks the beginning of the three-month “Rains Retreat” for Theravadin Buddhist monks and nuns. This period is a time for training in Dharma studies, meditation practice, and giving religious services to the people.
Celebrating Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva, the savior of beings who suffer in the hellish realms, as well as the guardian of expectant mothers, travelers, and deceased children in Japanese culture.
A celebration of the equinox that is of particular importance to Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Buddhists. During this festival, the six Paramitas [virtues] are emphasized: generosity, morality, wisdom, honesty, endeavor, and patience.
This day celebrates the monk (5th – 6th centuries C.E.) who emigrated from India and is credited with transmitting Ch’an [Zen] Buddhism to China.
This day celebrates the monk (1222 – 1282 C.E.) who encouraged his followers to devote themselves to the Lotus Sūtra as the exclusive means to enlightenment.
Celebration of the time when Prince Gautama (also later known as Shakyamuni Buddha) took his place under the Bodhi tree, vowing to remain there until he attained supreme enlightenment.
North American Buddhists attend special services in temples on this day.
Anniversary of the death in 866 C.E. of the Chinese Buddhist teacher who founded what is often known as the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.
Anniversary of the death in 1263 C.E. of the founder of the Jōdo Shinshū (True Pure Land) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Japan.
Anniversary of the death in 1212 C.E. of the founder of the Jōdo Shū (Pure Land) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Japan.
Some Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions mark this date as the anniversary of the historical Buddha’s death death in ca. 486 B.C.E. and his subsequent entrance into enlightenment or Nirvana. Other Buddhist schools mark this event on February 15th.