Saga Dawa ས་ག་ཟླ་བ་དུས་ཆེན་
Saga Dawa festival is a month-long festival which is commemorated on the fourth month of Tibetan lunar calendar, Buddhist all over the commemorate the life of Buddha. Many travel website and many other websites regard it as the celebration, which in my opinion is very wrong. It is a month of 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 on 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 the religious life of Tibetan. thought, We Tibetans are very dedicated to the spiritual quest. but 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 other 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 the 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 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 after eating those foods lesser merits.
During the Saga Dawa festival, almost all the restaurant in Tibet would have veg food.
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.