--- Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@...
> Buddhists follow
> the World Fellowship of Buddhist (WFB) in
> determining the current
> year, known as Buddhist Era (B.E.). This is based on
> the common dates
> that the Buddha was born in B.C.E.623 and attained
> final nibbana in
> The new year of the B.E. begins on Vesak Day (22 May
> in 2005).
> Presently, it is B.E.2548, and it will be B.E.2549
> on May 22. Next
> year Vesak, we will be celebrating B.E.2550.
This is correct according to the variety used in
Ceylon, Burma and Siam, where the year of the Buddha's
passing away is counted as year 1.
In Siam, Laos and Cambodia, however, that same year is
counted as year 0, so the year 2500 started in 1956 in
the western countries, but in 1957 in the eastern
On Thai coins and bank-notes, I think the Buddhist
year is calculated according to the eastern variety -
with the further complication that they start it not
on Vesak day but January 1:st...
If anyone wonders about Western chronology, the
supposed year of the birth of Christ is counted as
year 1. There is no year 0 in Christian chronology, as
it was launched before the concept 0 was known in the
west. I think the very word "zero" comes from Arabic
"sifr", and the Arabs took the concept from India;
when the Indians started using it, I don't know.
Whether the starting years are actually quite in
accordance with historical facts, I think few
historians believe they are.