Saga Dawa – May 31 to June 29

Personal message from Lama Jigmé

Tashi delek!
I wish you all a happy Saga Dawa and I really wish that you all will apply the ten virtuous actions (I hope you remember what they are!) and the ethics that we have been studying for many years in the Wednesday class as much as you can in daily life, and pray for all who are suffering and lost their lives and loved ones during these difficult times. It is a great opportunity to come to the ceremony on August 19-21 2022, because we will be dedicating the merit accumulated during Saga Dawa together, to benefit all sentient beings.

I wish you all the best this month. This means nonviolence, mental peace and to live a life more useful and meaningful.

Tashi delek!
Lama Jigmé Namgyal

Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa, or the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, starts May 31 and ends on June 29 in 2022. The main days of celebration in 2022 are June 29, the day that the Buddha was born and June 14, when Buddha reached enlightenment and passed away (parinirvana).

Saga Dawa is the most sacred month of the year in Tibetan Buddhism, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (death) of the Buddha and it is believed that all positive and negative actions are multiplied by 100 million as a result.

Therefore Saga Dawa is called the ‘month of merits’ for Tibetan Buddhists. Dawa means ‘month’ and Saga or Saka is the name of a star prominent in the sky during the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar.

Traditionally, the holy day of Saga Dawa is observed through practice, generosity, and the performance of meritorious deeds. So this month is especially dedicated to ‘making merit’. Merit is understood in many ways in Buddhism. We can think of it as the fruits of karma, especially when this brings us closer to enlightenment. The three grounds of meritorious actions are generosity, morality, and meditation, although there are many ways to make merit.

Sojin, the practice of life release, is commonly performed by purchasing animals that are destined to be killed (like worms, crickets or fish), and releasing them into their natural habitat with prayers and positive aspirations. The act of giving this way is believed to extend the practitioner’s lifespan and create positive circumstances.

The lighting of butter lamps is a common devotional practice. The lights are said to banish spiritual darkness as well as visual darkness. Donating lamp oil is another way to make merit, or giving to the poor. Another way to make merit is by not eating meat and not consuming alcohol.

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