Mahayana New Year 2023: What is Mahayana New Year and why is it important?

Mahayana New Year 2023: Mahayana New Year is celebrated this year on January 7 by Buddhists around the world. Let’s know more about it!
Mahayana New Year 2023
Mahayana New Year 2023

Mahayana New Year 2023: Buddhists all over the world will celebrate Mahayana New Year on January 7 of this year. Various Buddhist philosophies and ideologies are referred to as Mahayana. One of Buddhism's two main branches, Mahayana is primarily practiced in Northeast Asia. Tibet, Taiwan, Mongolia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Mahayana Buddhism is practiced according to customs and traditions unique to each region.

One of Buddhism's two main branches is known as Mahayana. The word is a combination of the Sanskrit words "maha," which means large or great, and "yana," which means vehicle. The phrase can be translated as the Great Vehicle when taken as a whole.

What is the main belief of Mahayana Buddhism?

Mahayana Buddhists hold the view that enlightenment or everlasting Nirvana can be attained throughout one's lifetime. Regular Buddhist practitioners can also reach this state of enlightenment, not just monks. The ultimate objective is for everyone to take advantage of the chance to become enlightened.

One of the two main branches of Buddhism is Mahayana, and both draw their philosophical foundations from the teachings of Siddartha Guatama, better known as the Buddha. Mahayana is a philosophy and way of life that strives for nirvana, much like Theraveda Buddhism. The realization that the ego, or what we perceive to be our self, is an illusion that causes us pain and suffering, is what leads to nirvana, a state of enlightenment.

Mahayana differs from the Theraveda tradition in three basic ways:

Sunyata, or the emptiness that results from enlightenment, is emphasized by the Mahayana. In contrast to Theravada Buddhism, which asserts that sunyata is the ultimate source of all phenomena, Mahayana Buddhism maintains that there is no such source and that nothing has value unless it is compared to something else. In a nutshell and possibly confusingly everything is nothing! Mahayana accepts the idea that all phenomena are components of illusion.

Additionally, the preferred route to enlightenment in Mahayana is different. The Bodhisattva path is given priority in the Mahayana tradition. A bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment but delays reaching full nirvana in order to assist others in pursuing the same goal. The Mahayana tradition maintains that anyone can choose the bodhisattva path and that enlightenment can happen suddenly and within one lifetime, in contrast to the Theravada tradition, which held that enlightenment required years of careful study by trained monks and sometimes required multiple reincarnated lifetimes to achieve.

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What is Mahayana New Year known for?

Mahayana New Year is one of many New Years' celebrations that take place throughout the year. The event is a happy one, but it is also a time for introspection, recognizing one's errors, and taking action to change them in order to become a better version of oneself. There are many followers of Buddhism in the world. It is a significant philosophy, and its principles have been followed for a very long time.

Depending on local traditions and customs, each country has a different way to celebrate Mahayana New Year. Others wait until the January full moon, while some Mahayana Buddhists celebrate on January 1 along with the Gregorian New Year. Numerous prayers are offered during the celebration in honor of the Buddhist gods. Bathing god statues are another way to show respect for them. On the Buddhist New Year, people visit temples and sing spiritual songs to the gods. Candles are also lit as a sign of joy and fortune for the coming year.

Check other important days and dates in January 2023

The Buddhist New Year is also a time for internalizing and self-reflection. Lessons from past mistakes are learned, and the goal is to become a better version of yourself. Good luck is also enhanced by cleaning and decorating homes and by buying gifts for others. The celebration is not a dull one, with grand feasts hosted and fireworks at midnight. 

The variety of Buddhism that was most widely practiced outside of India was Mahayana. It had spread throughout Asia by the fifth century, from Afghanistan to Japan and from Tibet to Indonesia. As waves of influence from India continued to spread outside of its borders, Mahayana Buddhism continued to advance over the ensuing centuries. Local culture also played a significant role in the growth of regional varieties of Mahyna, giving rise to diverse traditions like Zen in Japan and Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet.

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