From our team at Buddha Weekly, we wish you Happiness, Good Fortune and Good Health in 2017.
Chinese New Year, following the Lunar calendar, typically falls a month or so (it varies) after solar Western New Year, and almost one month before Losar (Tibetan New Year — which this year is on February 24, 2017).
A Time to Purify?
Several traditions have become associated with Chinese New Year, most famously the “lucky packets” — little red envelopes filled with money. It is also a time to purify and try to encourage good luck in the New Year through positive resolutions, similar to Western New Year’s resolution.
In some Buddhist traditions, for weeks or days running up to New Year’s, it is considered beneficial to purify negative karmas lingering from the previous year. By doing so, we don’t carry the burden into the new year.
In Tibetan traditions, this might mean reciting hundreds or thousands of Vajrasattva mantas. Vajrasattva, the Buddha of Purity, who — if engaged with the four opponent powers — helps us purify all negative mental and physical karmic imprints.
Whether Buddhist or not, the four opponent powers are easily acknowledged as an “effective” method, from both a human — and a psychological — point of view, to remedy the harm caused by negative actions. The opponent powers, as described by Venerable Thubten Chodron, are:
- Regret: not to be confused with guilt. We acknowledge our responsibilities.
- Restoring the Relationship: After acknowledging, we restore our vow to not harm through taking Refuge and altruistic activities.
- Determination Not to Repeat: we make a promise to ourselves.
- Remedial Action: we try to mitigate or fix the harm. This can be apologies, altruistic acts, and purification practices such as Vajrasattva