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首頁 > 健康世界 > 請佛教界公訂一個陽曆的佛誕節/陳榮基
 
請佛教界公訂一個陽曆的佛誕節/陳榮基
 
 

佛教慧炬機構董事長/佛教蓮花基金會榮譽董事長/前臺大醫院副院長/恩主公醫院創院院長   陳榮基教授

目前國際通用的公曆為陽曆系統,基督教即以陽曆12月25日為耶穌基督的誕生日,稱為Christmas,中文譯為耶誕節或聖誕節,在公曆上佔有一席之地,受到全球公認。

佛教源遠流長,教界多採用陰曆系統訂立佛誕日,又因各傳承之別,以致分別落在陽曆四月或五月不等。佛教界應討論訂立一個陽曆統一的佛誕日,以期如同基督教有公認的耶誕節一般,也朝向設立公訂佛誕節邁進。

此前,東南亞佛教國家有衛塞節(Vesak或Wesak),為南傳佛教紀念佛陀誕生、成道及涅槃日。聯合國亦於1999年公訂國際衛塞節(International Day of Vesak),但由於每年隨著陰曆月圓日換算,所以陽曆標示此日的日期不定。

借鑑馬來西亞,雖為穆斯林國家,但是政府接受佛教團體的請求,訂陽曆5月1日為衛塞節,以慶祝佛誕。而在台灣,雖然多有佛教寺廟或團體慶祝佛誕及浴佛活動,然而皆介於陽曆五月初至二十六日之間,沒有固定的日期,以致許多信徒莫衷一是,無所適從。

馬來西亞由於佛教徒少,相對容易達成共識。台灣佛教界傳承眾多,若要成事,誠須結合民間信眾力量,一起集思廣益,加諸媒體傳播,以鼓勵我國佛教會召集各佛教機構單位共同協商,訂出一個在公曆上固定的佛誕日,望能在國際社會正式紀念佛陀出世,並重視佛教為世界帶來的慈悲與智慧。

下面英文由 高中英文退休教師簡素玫協助翻譯

A Request to the Buddhist Society

for Setting the Buddha’s Birthday on the Solar Calendar

Prof. Rong-Chi CHEN*, MD, FANA

*Chairman of Buddhist Torch of Wisdom/Honorary Chairman of Buddhist Lotus Hospice Care Foundation/Ex-vice-superintendent of National Taiwan University Hospital/Founding Superintendent of En Chu Kong Hospital

Since the invention of calendar, many regions or countries have their own calendar systems, which gradually develop into two major systems, namely, Lunar Calendar and Solar Calendar. At the present time, Solar Calendar is the most used internationally. In the Christian society, they have set Dec. 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ, which is called Christmas and is recognized globally.

The Buddhist society adopts April 15 on the Lunar Calendar as the Buddha’s Birthday, which almost always falls in April or May on the Solar Calendar. Shouldn’t the Buddhist society establish a fixed date on the Solar Calendar for the Buddha’s Birthday? Christianity has their Christmas, why can’t we have our own Buddha’s Birthday on the globally recognized calendar?

Buddhist countries in Southeast Asia have Vesak or Wesak to celebrate the Buddha’s birth, ultimate realization, and nirvana. The day is April 15 on the Lunar Calendar, which changes every year on the Solar Calendar.

The United Nations established International Day of Vesak on the Lunar Calendar in 1999, whose date changes every year on the Solar Calendar.

Although Malaysia is a country with Muslims as its major population, its government accepted the request from the Buddhist society and established May 1 on the Solar Calendar as Vesak to celebrate Buddhist events, which includes the Buddha’s Birthday.

Every year in Taiwan, Buddhist temples or groups celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday and hold the Buddha Bathing activity from May 1 to May 26, whose date is not fixed.

According to Wikipedia, April 15 on the Lunar Calendar falls in April or May on the Solar Calendar and the date changes every year. Therefore, it is reasonable if we set April 30 or May 1 as the Buddha’s Birthday. Malaysia has established May 1 as Vesak and the Buddha’s Birthday; can’t Taiwan do the same? If this is settled in Taiwan, we can invite Buddhist countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia to appeal to the United Nations for making May 1 (or another fixed date) the International Day of Vesak, which the United Nations is likely to accept.

There aren’t many Buddhists in Malaysia, so it is easy to reach consensus. Influential Buddhist groups in Taiwan are too many to reach agreements, especially when all of them have their own insistent ideas. Can’t Buddhists come together to have discussions on this issue and find consensus? With help from mass media, we can encourage people in the Buddhist society in Taiwan to invite those influential Buddhist groups to negotiate with each other and set a fixed Buddha’s Birthday, which can be accepted internationally.

 
 
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