The Vesak Month of Saga Dawa
Saga Dawa is the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. It is regarded as the most auspicious month of the year for dharma practice since Buddha Shakyamuni’s birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana all took place within this period. The first fifteen days of the month are considered especially important with the 7th day commemorates the birth of Buddha, and the 15th day commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment at Bodhgaya, and the Buddha’s parinirvana at Kusinagara, culminating in the celebration on the full moon day Saga Dawa Düchen (Festival of Vesak).
Saga Dawa is one of four major Buddhist anniversaries related to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. The other three are Chotrul Düchen (Festival of Miracles) which coincides with the first fifteen days of Losar ( Tibetan New Year); Chökhor Düchen (Festival of Turning the Wheel of Dharma) which occurs on the 4th day of the sixth Tibetan lunar month; and Lha Bab Düchen (Festival of the Descent from Heaven) which falls on the 22nd day of the ninth Tibetan month.
During the period of these four festivals, the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 10 million times. Dharma devotees become extra diligent in the practice of giving (dana), of right morality (sila), and of right focus in contemplation (bhavana), so as to accumulate a great store of merits and virtues to purify the negative karmas that have been gathering since time without beginning. The most important of all these practices is to commemorate the compassionate activities of the Buddha and to perform acts of respect in honouring the lineage gurus without whom we would not have come into contact with the blessings and the wisdom of the Buddha.
Saga Dawa this year runs from May 12th to June 10th 2021 with Saga Dawa Düchen falling on May 26th.