at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre
4 June to 2 July 2019
Saga Dawa within the Tibetan Calendar falls this year on 4 June to 2 July 2019.
The most important month in the Tibetan lunar calendar is Saga Dawa, the 4th month and the 15th day of the lunar month, the full moon day is called Saga Dawa Düchen which falls on Monday 17 June 2019. Düchen means “Great Occasion” and this day is the single most holy day of the year for Tibetan Buddhists. Saga Dawa Düchen commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni marked on the same day of the Full Moon within this month.
Although, there is a specific separate day in which Buddha Shakyamuni’s birth is celebrated. This is referred to as Tampei Düchen, this year falling on Sunday 9 June.
In other Buddhist traditions this occasion is known as Vesak or is sometimes called Buddha Day and may fall within a different month, yet around the same time of the year.
Saga Dawa is known as the month of merits. Tibetan Buddhists make extra efforts to practice more generosity, virtue, and compassion in order to accumulate greater merit. Tibetans believe that during this month, the merits of one’s actions are multiplied. On the 15th day of the month the merits of one’s actions are hugely increased. Accumulating this merit is understood in many ways, it could be seen as the fruits of good karma, especially when it brings us closer enlightenment. The three grounds of meritorious actions are generosity and mental culture or meditation.
Traditionally, the holy day of Saga Dawa Düchen is observed through practice, generosity, and the performance of meritorious deeds, such as the practice of Life Release. This is commonly performed by purchasing animals that are destined to be killed (like worms, crickets, or fish), and releasing them into their natural habitats with prayers and positive aspirations. One must be mindful though that this release does not cause them more suffering. The act of giving life in this way is believed to extend the practitioner or benefactor’s lifespan and create positive circumstances. Another excellent way to make offering of life on this special day is to observe a vegetarian or vegan diet, a common tradition during this month. You can also take an extended vow or vegetarianism, creating vast merit through your noble aspiration to reduce suffering.
“Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation”. The Buddha
A special day of practice will be held for Saga Dawa Düchen at Kamalashila Tibetan Buddhist Centre, 9000 Princes Highway – programme to be announced shortly.