Here in Thailand we use two year dates, the western “A.D.” based on the Gregorian calendar, and the “B.E.”, or Buddhist Era calendar, based on the number of years since the birth of the Buddha. So two thousand five hundred forty eight years have passed since the birth of ‘the enlightened one”.
Siddhartha, or Shakyamuni, later known as the Buddha, never claimed to be a god, but rather a mere mortal who through meditation and reflection had discovered a special relationship to the universe, and one which everyone can achieve. Hence Buddhism is more a philosophy of life and living rather than a religious theology.
The year comes to a close on a somewhat somber note as we reflect on the awesome power of nature, with the loss of countless lives and the destruction wrought by the SE Asian earthquake and tsunamis of December 26.
Hoping that this coming year will find peace, love, kindness and compassion for your fellow man and indeed for all which comprises our mutual home, the Earth.
Sawatdee bpee mai – Happy New Year!