What About Confucius's Birthday, Bill?

As a Jewish American, you can imagine how moved I was to learn that, as he explained to Larry King, Bill Clinton will not be out campaigning for Barack Obama until after October 9th, out of respect for the Jewish High Holy Days.

But by the same token, we know that the former president celebrates diversity and is deeply multi-cultural in his beliefs. America is a great mosaic, after all. And so, just as he respects the Jewish faith tradition, surely he would also wish to honor the great religions of the East. As a public service to President Clinton, we are therefore providing this calendar of upcoming holidays celebrated in the Eastern religions of Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism and Shintoism.

We can imagine just how crestfallen Bill will be to learn that the multiplicity of observances will effectively keep him off the campaign trail on behalf of Sen. Obama right through Election Day. But really, there is no price too high to pay to honor our nation's religious diversity. Hopefully, the MSM will pick up on this story and help bring the vital information it contains to President Clinton's attention.

Calendar of Jain, Sikh, Taoist & Shinto Holidays Through Election Day

* 9/28: Birthday of Confucius (K'ung Fu-Tzu) (551 BCE). He taught that societal harmony could be realized when individuals acted with loving care for family, concern for friends and neighbors, benevolence to strangers, and respect for all. [Founder of Confucianism.] [Death day 11/29/479 BCE]

* 10/7 to 10/14: Navapad Oli--Jain period of fasting, recitation of holy scripture, and meditation on the principles of right knowledge, right faith, right conduct, and right penance. Jainas honor Arihantas (conquerors of passions), Siddhas (liberated souls), Acharyas (spiritual leaders), Upadhyayas (spiritual teachers), and Sadhus (renouncers). [a/k/a Navapada, Nav-pad Oli, Navapad Oli, Ayambil Oli, Aambil ki Ooli, Oli, Oliji, Siddha Chakra, Navadevata Puja, Vardhaman tap]

* 10/9: Birthday of Guru Ram Das Sodhi Sahib, fourth Sikh guru, commemorated. [Guru Ram Das lived 1534-1581; guru 1574-1581.] [a/k/a Guru Ram Das Parkash]

* 10/17: Shukaku Matsuri--Shinto rite offering thanks and first fruits of the rice harvest to the Kami. [a/k/a Kannamesai, Harvest Festival]

* 10/18: Day the Clean Water Act was enacted (1972); day to give thanks for the water we drink. [Pub. L. 92-500, 86 Stat. 896, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.] [Text of statute] [See also EarthJustice website.]

* 10/20: Day the Granth Sahib (Adi Granth), the holy scripture of the Sikhs, was recognized as eternal guru (1708). Sikhs believe the infinite and formless Deity should be sought within one's self. [a/k/a Adi Granth Gur Ghaddi]

* 10/20: Death of Guru Har Rai Sahib, seventh Sikh guru, commemorated; accession of Guru Har Krishan Sahib, eighth Sikh guru, commemorated. [Guru Har Rai lived 1630-1661; guru 1644-1661.] [Guru Har Krishan lived 1656-1664; guru 1661-1664.] [a/k/a Guru Har Rai Jyoti Jot, Guru Har Krishan Gur Ghaddhi]

* 10/21: Death of Guru Gobind Rai Singh Sahib, tenth Sikh guru, commemorated. [Guru Gobind Singh lived 1666-1708; guru 1675-1708.] [a/k/a Guru Gobind Singh Jyoti Jot]

* 10/28: Day commemorating the death of Mahavira Vardhamana Jnatrputra (527 BCE), founder of the Jain faith. [599-527 BCE: exact dates unknown] [a/k/a Mahavir Nirvana, Mahavira Nirvana, Mahavir Bhagwan's Nirvan Kalyanak]

* 11/2: Jnan Panchami--Day that Jainas celebrate knowledge, education, and holy books with recitations, meditation, and worship. [a/k/a Gnan Panchami, Gyan Panchami, Jnana Panchami]

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