Happy Buddha’s Birthday

Different sects of Buddhism celebrate the birth date of Buddha at different times with different holidays (often tied to cycles of the moon). Throughout much of Southeast Asia, that date this year is today, May 10. Theravada is the dominant form of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and Laos. Theravadins combine observance of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death into one holiday, called Vesak, Visakha, or Wesak, also sometimes known as Buddha Day.

In honor of the day, here are a few volunteer vacation ideas from 500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference with direct ties to Buddhism:

Teach English to Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka, with Global Crossroads or Institute for Field Research Expeditions. 2-week projects where you will live with a local host family and work with young men, ages 8-20, who have dedicated their lives to Buddhist practice.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Volunteering in Thimpu, Bhutan. Spiritual seekers make their way through mountain passes, and you can custom-choose how best to volunteer your time during your journey. Amitabha Bhutan Tours.

Ladakh, India Buddhist monastery program to assist locals around holy sites. Global Eco Spiritual Tours.

Dharma Wheels Buddhist Bicycle Pilrimage is 2 days on a dharma trek in Marin County, California, in the spirit of generosity, and dependent on volunteers.

I don’t know about you, but my life has been pretty chaotic lately…so these sound particularly appealing. If you need me, I’ll be outside, in the lotus position, chanting…shhhhhhhhhh

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