Saturday, January 10, 2009

Today, Saturday the 10th of January is a Full Moon Poya Day

In Sri Lanka, all full moon days are Poya holidays. While not being a Buddhist country it is still inhabited by a majority who claim Buddhism as their religion, though technically Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life following the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

Needless to say if one were to argue the point in fact, there are possibly many in the world who more closely practice the teachings of the Lord Buddha who do not claim to be Buddhists than those who claim to be Buddhist. When I write on religion I am bound to offend a lot of people, but I wish nevertheless to express my opinion.

We in all religions and I include Buddhism in this context, know that the basic philosophy is to live wholesomely in unison with the environment, while obeying basic morals and attempting to be “good”. The word good is interpreted in different ways. This is not necessarily by those whose names we bestow to the religion, but by the practitioners who interpret this good and tell people how to be good and what happens if you are bad.

It is an incontrovertible fact, that few if any actually follow all the tenets of their religions, but many attempt in various forms to try, and some fail, and others do a little and hope it will be enough etc. Still others shame their religion by being very bad examples, which people of other religions use to shame the different belief by referring to the black sheep! Murdering Jihadists being a case in point.

Returning to the point I was trying to make when I started, I know that very few in this country will attend religious observances, which was the specific reason for the holiday being given. I have closed my shop today, due to it being Poya, other shops in the country are open. An elderly lady who works here has always requested that she be given Poya day off to attend to her religious needs, but I know she rarely takes sill or goes to temple on Poya anymore. She goes on non-Poya days, and takes her rota to offer food to the Priest etc. This implies that most people look forward to a day of rest from work, to relax or attend to other pressing matters. Still others who work get paid time and a half or double time depending on the rules of their workplace. Poya day has just become another National Holiday in the only land where four religions get holidays for all amounting to a staggering 35 days a year. No wonder we are the land of the lotus eaters! We have time.

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