Many Buddhists recognize today as Vesak, a day which commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. (This is a lunar holiday, so it doesn’t always fall on May 5.) And this will be the third year of a Vesak ceremony in the White House. (Nicely timed this year to lead off Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.)
It’s kind of amazing that there will be any recognition of a Buddhist holiday in the White House. No doubt the usual Christian nationalists and right wing Christian bigots will bemoan the celebration of a non-Christian religious holiday in the White House. No doubt the usual fundamentalist atheists will bemoan the celebration of any religious holiday in the White House. But I like the idea. Personally I don’t celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, or death, but I’m glad of this recognition of the cultural and religious diversity within the United States.