Saga Dawa Duchen is one of the most sacred months for Tibetan Buddhism
ས་ག་ཟླ་བའི་དུས་སུ་མདོ་དབུས་ཁམས་གསུམ་གྱི་དགོན་སྡེ་སོ་སོར་ཆོས་ཀྱི་བྱེད་སྒོ་སྣ་ཚོགས་སྤེལ་བཞིན་ཡོད་པར་མ་ཟད། སྡིག་པ་གང་བསགས་པ་དང་དགེ་བ་གང་བསྒྲུབས་པ་རྣམས་འབུམ་འགྱུར་དང་ཁྲི་འགྱུར་དུ་འཕེལ་བར་ངེས་བཟུང་ནས་དད་ལྡན་སེར་སྐྱ་ཕོ་མོ་རྣམས་ཀྱིས་ངང་བ་པད་མཚོར་འཇུག་པ་ཇི་བཞིན་མ་སྐུལ་རང་འགུལ་སྒོས་དམར་ཟས་གཅོད་པ་དང་། སྦྱིན་པ་གཏོང་བ། འཁྲུག་རྩོད་སྤོང་བ་སོགས་རྣམ་དཀར་དགེ་བའི་ལས་ལ་འཇུག་པའི་སྲོལ་ལེགས་ཁྱབ་བརྡལ་དུ་སོང་བ་དང་བསྟུན་ནས་ཡུལ་གྱི་དུས་ཆེན་གཙོ་བོ་ཞིག་ཏུ་གྱུར་འདུག་པས། དུས་མཆོད་འདིར་དད་ལྡན་མང་ཚོགས་རྣམས་ཀྱིས་རྟེན་མཆོག་གི་སྤྱན་སྔར་མཆོད་པ་ཕུན་སུམ་ཚོགས་པོ་བཤམས་པ་དང་། སྨྱུང་གནས་སྲུང་བ། ཕྱག་འཚལ་བ་སོགས་སྐྱབས་གནས་དཀོན་མཆོག་གསུམ་ལ་མཆོད་པའི་སྤྲིན་བསམ་གྱིས་མི་ཁྱབ་པ་མཛད་པ་ཡིན་ནོ།།
Saga Dawa Duchen is one of the most sacred months for Tibetan Buddhism. It is the time in which we commemorate the birth, enlightenment and Parinirvana (death) of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. On this exact day, three important events happened in Lord Buddha’s life. Two Thousand years ago, Lord Buddha was born in Lumpini, India. At the age of thirty-five, as he sat under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he attained enlightenment. At the age of eighty, Lord Buddha Shakyamuni entered parinirvana at Kushinagara.
For Tibetan Buddhists, the Saga Dawa Duchen is observed on the fifteenth day of the fourth lunar month according to Tibetan calendar. It is the day with a full moon.
In Tibetan, Saga is the name of a star prominent in the sky when Saga Dawa is observed. Dawa means month, and Duchen means great occasion. Saga Dawa Duchen is the single most important and holy day for Buddhists. This year, the day falls on June 9, 2017 according to Gregorian calendar.
Saga Dawa Duchen is the month of making merit. It is the most auspicious time for meritorious actions. Combined with generosity and meditation, the merits of worthy acts will multiply 100,000 times. Our acts will not only bless us with good karma and assist us to attain our enlightenment, but more so, the benefits will reward all sentient beings.
It is also the time in which we are reminded of the Lord Buddha’s gift to us. After his enlightenment, he decided to share his knowledge of truth, in order to help us understand suffering, its origin; its cessation and how to acquire the path to it. He did so 49 days after his enlightenment at Sarnath where he taught the Four Noble Truths, which became the foundation of his teaching.
For Buddhist practitioners, Saga Dawa Dechen is the day when the Eight Mahayana Precepts are mindfully observed. These are:
1. Avoid killing, directly or indirectly.
2. Avoid stealing, and taking things without the permission of their owner.
3. Avoid sexual misconduct.
4. Avoid lying or deceiving others.
5. Avoid taking intoxicated drugs, alcohols or tobacco.
6. Avoid eating more than one meal a day. The meal is taken before noon. However, light drinks without milk and fruit pulps but with honey and sugar are allowed as nourishment.
7. Avoid sitting on expensive and elevated bed or chair, particular with animal skin with pride.
8. Avoid wearing jewelries, perfume or merry making including singing, dancing or playing music.
In additions, practitioners attend puja and prayer services at temples to make offerings to monks and nuns, monasteries, and those in need. They do prostrations and circumambulations around sacred sights and stupas while saying prayers and chanting mantras. They also participate in the lighting of candles and butter lamps to accumulate merits.
It is on this particular occasion, we at Tashi Lhunpo, wish to encourage us all to follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teaching. He encouraged us to recite the six syllables mantra, “Om Mani Pami Hum” for the benefit of all sentient beings, especially those who are disturbed by attachment and anger. Today, in the world we live, there are great sufferings resulted from disturbing emotions that at times resulted in unwholesome deeds. His Holiness reminded us to remember that our unruly mind is the source of unhappiness. Therefore, mindfulness and meditation to discipline our mind can bring us happiness. Peace in the world depends on our ability to relate to each other with love and compassion.
May the blessings of our Lord Buddha Shakyamuni grant all beings with happiness and peace on this auspicious day and endless days to come…
“ And now as long as space endures,
As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue likewise to remain
To drive away the sorrows of the world.
The pains and sorrows of all wandering beings
May they ripen wholly on myself.
And may the virtuous company of Bodhisattvas
Always bring about the happiness of beings.
May the Doctrine, only cure for sorrow,
Source of every bliss and happiness,
Be blessed with wealth, upheld with veneration,
And throughout a vast continuance of time, endure!”
The Way of the Bodhisattva – Shantideva