Winter Solstice

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Will
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Winter Solstice

Post by Will » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:24 pm

Today 21 December @ 8:27 Pacific time is the Solstice. Does Theravada Buddhism practice anything special on this date or just ignore it?
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Dhammanando
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:18 pm

Will wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:24 pm
Today 21 December @ 8:27 Pacific time is the Solstice. Does Theravada Buddhism practice anything special on this date or just ignore it?
It's ignored. We use a lunar calendar, so the sun is only relevant for determining day and night.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:34 pm

:thanks:

Thinking about why this might be, I realised that the solstice-equinox-solstice-equinox rhythm is far less obvious or important in southern Asia (and equatorial countries generally) than in northern Europe, or in southern Australia where I grew up.
Day length and temperatures hardly vary through the year and the seasonal change important to the farmers (i.e. nearly everyone, until recently) is the annual arrival and departure of the rainy season.
Where I am now, on the edge of the Tropics, our day varies from 11.5 to 12.5 hours - enough to notice, but only just - and we're waiting for rain - the monsoon usually arrives in January.

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Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:34 pm
:thanks:

Thinking about why this might be, I realised that the solstice-equinox-solstice-equinox rhythm is far less obvious or important in southern Asia (and equatorial countries generally) than in northern Europe, or in southern Australia where I grew up.
Day length and temperatures hardly vary through the year and the seasonal change important to the farmers (i.e. nearly everyone, until recently) is the annual arrival and departure of the rainy season.
Where I am now, on the edge of the Tropics, our day varies from 11.5 to 12.5 hours - enough to notice, but only just - and we're waiting for rain - the monsoon usually arrives in January.

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, that's my thinking too. Winters in Northern Europe and Asia, before the ability to preserve food and even keep livestock alive, were extremely gruelling. The differences between seasons can be very marked and leads to completely different patterns of livelihood. For many people in Northern Europe today, the solstice is of little importance, but to Iron Age and Bronze Age people it was not only known about with astronomical precision, it was marked by structures which took barely-imaginable efforts to create. Stonehenge, for example, and Maeshowe in the Orkney Islands. The latter is constructed (out of huge blocks of stone) so that the last rays of the sun at the winter solstice shine directly inside. And, of course, the pagan festival which took place at this time of year was adopted by Christians in the absence of a known date for a Christ-Mass.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:16 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 pm
...And, of course, the pagan festival which took place at this time of year was adopted by Christians in the absence of a known date for a Christ-Mass.
Yes, it was good of JC to come and go on a solstice and an equinox - although, if his dad had really been on to it, he would have arrived at the spring equinox to take advantage of all the 'new life' symbolism.

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Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:19 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:16 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 pm
...And, of course, the pagan festival which took place at this time of year was adopted by Christians in the absence of a known date for a Christ-Mass.
Yes, it was good of JC to come and go on a solstice and an equinox - although, if his dad had really been on to it, he would have arrived at the spring equinox to take advantage of all the 'new life' symbolism.

:coffee:
Kim
I think the Spring "new life" bit was already booked in advance for the resurrection.

[Edit] I'm conscious that we are occupying the "General Theravada Meditation" section to engage in this. If challenged by the mods, I'm going to claim that it's about Summer-Samadhi. :smile: But I'll stop now, I promise.

Dinsdale
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Re: Winter Solstice

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:27 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 pm
And, of course, the pagan festival which took place at this time of year was adopted by Christians in the absence of a known date for a Christ-Mass.
"Adopted"? More like stolen. :tongue:

Dinsdale Druid :soap:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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