A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Theravada New Year. The Theravada (थेरवाद, school of the elder monks) New Year festival is celebrated for 3 days from the first full moon day in April. Sand and water rituals are followed, each grain of sand representing a wrongdoing (censure on one’s karma) so that when the sand is washed away the bad deed is too. Theravada Buddhists spend the festival days in concentrated thought about the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, reflect on their karma and wish others well. Theravada promotes the concept of vibhajjavāda (teaching of analysis) with insight coming from experience, application of knowledge and critical reasoning, the Theravāda Path starting with learning followed by practise and culminating in the realisation of Nirvana (निर्वाण, liberation from repeated rebirth). Entry onto the Buddhist path is by understanding anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (not-self), as a living being is subject to a process of continuous change that must be closely observed. The Theravāda branch of Buddhism uses the teaching of the Pāli Canon collection of the oldest recorded Buddhist texts as its doctrinal core. It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and is practised by minority groups in Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Nepal and Vietnam. Image: dreamstime.com.

Prayer May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow. May all never be separated from the sacred happiness that is sorrowless. May all live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion, and live believing in the equality of all that lives. Patthana

St Winewald (d751). Feast Day for 2nd Benedictine Abbot of Beferlic (Beverley) Abbey from 733 who was greatly venerated for the sanctity of his life and is credited with making the monastery a centre for spiritual and cultural growth. The town of Beverley had been founded c700 by St John of Beverley, during the time of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. After a period of Danish control, it passed to the Cerdic (Cerdicingas) dynasty and gained prominence in terms of religious importance. It continued to grow under the Normans and was a place of Medieval pilgrimage that became rich from the pilgrims who came to venerate John of Beverley. After the Reformation, the stature of Beverley was much reduced but it is still famous as a minster town. It gave the name to Beverly Hills, California. Image: slideshare.net.

Holy Tuesday. Today, Orthodox Christians continue to remember Jesus’ final instructions to his Disciples. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic church and those Eastern Catholic Churches that follow the Byzantine Rite, this day is referred to as Great and Holy Tuesday (Great Tuesday). The Parable of the Ten Virgins forms one of the themes of the first 3 days of Holy Week with its teaching about vigilance and Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church. The bridal chamber is used as a symbol of not only the Tomb of Christ, but also of the blessed state of the saved on the Day of Judgement. The theme of the Parable of the Talents is developed in the hymns today, with its moral lessons that God can change time and has power over life, death, resurrection as does none other, whilst humans have no power and so should only put their faith in God. Image: iconreader.wordpress.com