Buddhist Action Day is a national inter-Buddhist festival for Britain. It is intended to be a regular annual event taking place on or around the 3rd July. For this year’s – 2012′s – news read here.
The name ‘Buddhist Action Day’ was chosen from a range of options by representatives from some well-known Buddhist organisations. Alternatives such as Dhamma Action Day were rejected because ‘Dhamma’ is not a specifically Buddhist term, or because they were too closely linked with a particular Buddhist tradition. The intention for Buddhist Action Day is that it’s inclusive of anyone who feels an association with the path established by the Buddha. This also includes secular movements such as ‘mindfulness’ groups whose members may wish to feel part of a burgeoning community who regard ‘awakening’ as of great value.
‘Action’ was included in the name to counter a common stereotype of Buddhists as being un-involved and on the side-lines of life as well as emphasising what brings people (and Buddhists) together – right action. Buddhist Action Day is intended as a day when all well-intentioned folk can meet together and get involved in voluntary action for the good of local communities. This might be focused on the environment or recycling – as is the intent with this year’s earthkind focus – or helping a particular part of society such as the elderly and infirm, or some other form of social action. We also intend that the day should be enjoyable and include a meal and be open to those from all faiths or none.
The closest association between a traditional Buddhist festival and Buddhist Action Day is Asalha Puja Day, also known as Dhamma Day, which celebrates the Buddha’s commencement of his teaching. This seems a very appropriate source of inspiration for skilful Buddhist action. Asian Buddhist traditions have a diversity of festivals that celebrate different aspects of Buddhism. This diversity developed within different nations and cultural settings as Buddhism became established.
Some will have noticed that the acronym of Buddhist Action Day is ‘BAD’ and perhaps felt a little ‘bad’ about this. Having selected Buddhist Action Day as the best name and noticed the BAD acronym, we decided that this was in fact a benefit – not only does it make the name easily memorable and probably quite appealing to some parts of the community, but it gives us the opportunity to turn BAD into good.
We hope that BAD becomes an exciting annual festival driven by enthusiastic individuals that helps to make clear that those interested in the path to awakening are also interested in their broader responsibilities and their interdependence with local communities, and in alleviating common forms of suffering.
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