Saka Dawa

For nearly 2,600 years, Buddhists have honored Shakyamuni Buddha's passing away into parinirvana, as well as his birth and awakening, with a traditional celebration often called Vesak. Vesak is a great time when followers of all Buddhist traditions make offerings to the Buddha. These offerings are unlimited and can be an extensive offering of lights, flowers, incense and anything that we as humans find pleasant. During Vesak celebration it is important to contemplate the great kindness of the Buddha. He gave us the 84,000 teachings of the Dharma and showed us that we all possess the capacity to become fully awakened beings and help others to achieve the same, just as Buddha himself did. Vesak is an excellent time for all of us to especially honor all of our Gurus, great teachers and Dharma friends. These are the beings who truly support our practice, although we often do not fully realize it.
Saka Dawa is the special month in which the Buddha’s conception, birth, awakening, and parinirvana all occur. In particular, the full moon day, or 15th day, of the fourth month marks the holiest day in Tibetan Buddhism. It is the day of the Buddha’s Conception, Birth, Awakening, and parting into Nirvana. (Some traditions celebrate Buddha's birthday on this day, some on the 5th day of the month.) It is auspicious to perform meritorious activities on this specific day. The merit generated from these virtuous activities increases 100,000-fold on this day in Saka Dawa.

Realisng fishes to earn merit

Generally, on this special day, all Buddhists perform purification and multiple merit accumulating activities. The most beneficial activity on this day, of course, would be generating Bodhichitta.

Traditionally, the Saka Dawa Festival is held on the Full moon (15th Lunar Day) of the 4th Lunar month of the Tibetan Calendar. This date falls this year on May 21, 2016 in the Western  calendar. The fourth month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar is called “Saka Dawa.” “Dawa” in Tibetan means “month/moon”. “Saka” is the name of the star, one of the 28 Major stars used in Tibetan astrology calculations which is closest to the earth and thus most prominent at this time of the year.  On the full moon of the fourth lunar month the influential star is “Saka” and so the month is Saka Month, or Saka Dawa. This day is the most important holy day in Tibetan Buddhism.

Saka Dawa in Swaymbhu

Starting on Kora early at 2AM

Doing Kora

Birmomg bitterlamps

Free feeding

Giving Alms


Monkey see....

In the Lap of the Buddha

Best wishes for a wonderful and auspicious Saka Dawa!

(Sung to the tune of 'summertime' )

Saka Dawa - earning merit is easy
Bodies are bowing, RInpoch sitting high
The Gompa's rich an your Yidam's good lookin'
Say your manis. sentient being . be it known Nirvana's nigh.

Love and Pranams.