I’m off on holiday to the Pure Land today! It’s time for the Spring Festival, which Geshe-la always called ‘our spiritual holiday.’ It’s not like a normal holiday in that it’s quite hard work (and involves no beaches), but it’s better than any other holiday because you bring home something really useful: the inner wealth of Dharma, which never becomes less even when you use it, and increases when you give it away to others.
For me, what’s most inspiring about our festivals is seeing the sort of pure society that is formed when everyone practices cherishing others. There are thousands of people gathered in somewhat-less-than-perfect external conditions (no 4-star hotels on this holiday), queuing for everything, it’s the lake district so it is always raining (that’s where the lakes come from, don’t you know?)… but somehow it’s just perfect. Why? Because everyone is being kind. And that’s not because these are all amazing spiritual practitioners: it’s just a bunch of normal people, but brought together in this special environment we all become more than the sum of our parts. We all become a pure society because for those few days we are all united in our sincere effort to put Buddha’s teachings on cherishing others into practice.
This really gives me hope that one day we can make the whole of our wider society into something better.
Further reading: kadampafestivals.org