February 7, 2008 Sensei was invited to Shambhala Mountain Center to help celebrate Shambhala Day or Losar, the lunar New Year.
In his brief talk before the ceremony, Sensei explains that it’s a little odd to call this the New Year, because everyone is aware that the year’s calendar actually changes on January first. Traditionally, he says, it’s true that in Asia, including in Japan, they follow the lunar cycle. If you ask the old people in Japan, they will agree that this is the real New Year. But the younger generation all accept January first as the turning of the year. That’s the way it is now. To solve this seeming contradiction, Sensei suggests we call the lunar New Year the “New Spring”, a way to welcome the new Spring flowers and a fresh feeling in our lives. We can relate to January first as the time to set our schedules for the year, to organize ourselves for the next calendar year to come. But this New Spring is the time that we actually set our deeper aspiration for the coming year.
To help with this, he offers a Nosha, a form of ceremonial shooting to clear out all the obstacles, the old ghosts, debris, bad feeling leftover from the previous year. He makes the point that every year brings us lots of obstacles and difficulties and it is good to clear this out to make room for a fresh beginning. Following the Nosha, at Sensei's request, Vajra Rich offers a Reisha to invite blessings and an excellent aspiration for the New Year.
For the sake toast at the end, Sensei made quite a point that everyone should not gulp their sake and not be particularly greedy or indulgent. It is an offering to the Kami. So one takes three sips, offering each time, with a good, clear heart.
May this Nosha offering circulate the airwaves to help clear old obstacles and make room for a fresh beginning as we enter this New Spring in 2017.