June 21, 2010

The First Day of Summer

Today marks summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere. The name solstice derives from the Latin words ‘sol’ meaning sun and ‘sistere’ meaning to stand still. It is offically the first day of summer (though those of us here in New York might argue that it certainly feels as though summer already started a while back) and after this the days will get shorter.

The sun is celebrated by many cultures and religions. The ancient Indian custom of sun salutations practiced by one of Buddha's students was the basis from which the Buddha began his famous Sigalovada Sutta or "The Layperson’s Code of Discipline." Here, the Buddha described evil ways that should be avoided, the importance of true friendships, and how to protect and support close relationships.

May you have a happy solstice and a wonderful summer!

To read the full sutta go here.

Photo by Christian Pitschl.

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