Saga Dawa festival is a month long festival which is commemorate on the forth month of Tibetan lunar calendar, Buddhist all over the commemorate the life of Buddha. Many travel website and many other website regard it as the celebration, which in my opinion is very wrong. It is a month time for prayers and rituals. In short Saga Dawa is month long Buddhist prayer festival celebrated all over the world.
What is Saga Dawa?
Saga Dawa is a month-long prayer festival observe in all the Buddhist world. In this month it is said, the Buddha was born, enlighten and achieve Pari Nirvana ( death). This year the month begins at may 19th and ends on June 16th. The climax of the prayer festival is on its 15th day. which is on 2nd June.
What would you see in Tibet?
If you travel to Tibet in the month, you will have a very good opportunity to explore to the religious life of Tibetan. thought, We Tibetans are very dedicated to the spiritual quest. but in this month, where ever you go, you will be most likely to see all the monastery fill with Pilgrims and the religious ceremonies.
Must date to keep in mind.
On 8th and 9th there is a cham Dance and prayer flag raising ceremony in Tsurphu Monastery. It is believed the prayer flag in Tsurphu monastery has a magical power. locals only have to pull it up the halfway and pole will straight up itself from half way up. On the 10th day of the month, there is a giant Thangka display at the Tsurphu monastery on the hill across the monastery. If you are visiting the monastery on those three days, see you there as I will be there with a tour group.
If you are not in the region and if it is impossible to go Tsurphu monastery, please do visit any monastery on those three days as well as 15th of the month.
Popular believe about Saga Dawa.
In this month of three main stages of Buddha life. if an individual indulges in any victorious act, he or she will get thousandfold virtue from it. and if some indulge is any sinful act, the effects would be a thousand folds bad karma from it.
What are the common practices during the Saga Dawa?
The offering, self-discipline in religious life, refraining from consuming meat.
- Circumambulating the monastery, temple, and stupas.
- Making pilgrimages to the holy places
- Offering money and others goods to the monastery, holy images and Monks, and Nuns.
- Praying and reciting mantras.
- Offering money and other goods to those who are less fortunate than oneself, for me for examples I never believe giving money would help them, but instead, I always choose to buy products and services, so that both my religious and my perspective of helping needy are fulfilled. I do buy products and service from the enterprise of disabled people and poor or enterprise establish to employ needy and disabled.
- Buying animals from the butcher or from the verge of being killed and release them. (But please keep this in mind, if you are in Tibet and thinking of buying fish to release. please buy the local breed of fish. those fish which are brought from lower region dies in harsh water of Tibet high land. due to lack of minerals and oxygen, I think.
Eight Mahayana Precepts
The eight Mahayana precepts are commonly observed by many Tibetans. But I am not propagating every one to observe. personally, I don’t follow all the but do follow most in my day to day life.
following are the eight Mahayana precepts;
- Avoid killing, directly and indirectly
- Avoid stealing or Taking things without the permission from the owners
- Avoid Sexual contact beyond your marriage.
- Avoid deceiving others and lying
- Avoid intoxicants, Alcohol, Tobacco, and recreational drugs.
- Avoid eating more than one meal a day, The meal shall be taken before the noon. avoid eating Meat, Onions, garlic, and Radishes.
- Avoid sitting on high, expensive bed or seat with pride. also, avoid sitting on the Animal skin.
- Avoid wearing Jewelry, perfume, and makeup. avoid singing, dancing, or playing music with attachment.
Garlic, onion, and radishes are classified as black foods. people are forbidden to entering into temples and monasteries after eating it. The reason is they the blood and affects the wind and channels. Any merits act act after eating those foods lesser merits.
During Saga Dawa festival, almost all the restaurant in Tibet would have veg food.