Celebrating the Lunar: Special “moon” dates in 2021 for Buddha Dharma Practice including Buddha Days, Tsog, Medicine Buddha, Tara

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    Most special days in Buddhist Practices tend to align on lunar calendars. Buddha’s birthday, for example, varies on the Western calendar year-to-year. Losar, or Tibetan New Year, is celebrated on the Lunar calendar. The most important days of the entire year are typically the “Buddha Days” at the beginning of the year, starting on Lunar New Year and continuing for 15 days — often called the 15 Days of Miracles.

    According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, based on the Vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic, “karmic results are multiplied one hundred million times.”

    Whether you take that as literal — many of us do — or symbolic of the importance of these days, it is auspicious for Buddhist practitioners to honor the special days.

     

    Buddha Weekly Chiang Mai Thailand Buddhist monk preparing space temple Loi krathong festival Buddhism
    Chiang Mai Thailand Buddhist monk preparing space temple Loi krathong festival.

     

    Lunar Recurring Days

    Here, we’ll cover the special days for 2021. They break down into categories:

    • Buddha Days:
      • 15 Days of Miracles — and especially the 15th Day of the Lunar first month, which is “the Day of Miracles”
      • Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Paranirvana: celebrated on the 15th lunar day of the 4th lunar month
      • Lord Buddha’s First Teaching: 4th day of the 6th lunar month
      • Lord Buddha’s Descent from the God Realm of Thirty Three: day 22 of lunar month 9.
    • Eclipse Days: considered auspicious with “karmic results are multiplied by one hundred million on solar eclipses and by seven million on lunar” according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
    • Full Moon Days: auspicious for practice and special to both Tara and Medicine Buddha (Pujas encouraged.)
    • Medicine Buddha Puja Days: 8th and/or 15th of every lunar month
    • New Moon Days: auspicious for practice, and also for Naga Pujas.
    • Protector Puja: once a month pujas for the Dharma Protectors on the 29th of every lunar month.
    • Guru Rinpoche Day: each month on the 10th day of the lunar month, corresponding with Tsog (see below.)
    • Tsog (Tsok) Days: on the 10th and 25th of every lunar month, a festive offering for: “Those who have received an initiation into Highest Yoga Tantra have a commitment to perform tsog” — according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche. These break down into:
      • Daka (Hero) Tsog: 10th day of the lunar month
      • Dakini (Heroine or Yogini) Tsog: 25th day of the lunar month.

    For the latest actual dates for this year, see our Dharma Calendar>>

     

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    Mahayana Special Days on Western Calendar 2021

    In addition to the special “meritorious” days for practice, there are annual celebration days, such as the Buddha Days. Some days may vary with the region. For example, the celebration of Lord Buddha’s Birth, Death and Enlightenment, typically celebrate don the 15th day of the 4th lunar day may be observed (in some cases as a national holiday) on other dates in some countries. We’ll break these down by category, rather than by consecutive calendar date, to make it easier to find by recurring event:

    Buddha Days Converted to Western Calendar

    • February 12 to 27: Days of Miracles
    • May 26: Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana
    • July 14: Lord Buddha’s first teaching
    • October 27: Lord Buddha’s descent from God Realm of Thirty-three
    Buddha Weekly Buddha Descent from Tushita Heaven Buddhism
    Buddha descends from Tushita heaven, one of the Eight Great Deeds of the Buddha — celebrated on Lhabab Duchen.

    New Year and the Miracles

    This year, 2021, Losar (Lunar New Year) falls on February 12. This day is also the first day of the 15 Days of Buddha’s Miracles.

    2021 is the YEAR OF THE GOLD OX — 2148 on the Tibetan Calendar.

    Lunar and Solar Eclipses

    This year there are four eclipses, two lunar and two solar, considered auspicious for practice:

    • Lunar Eclipses: May 26 and November 19
    • Solar Eclipses: June 10 and December 4

    Buddha Weekly New Year Celebrating the New Year in Thailand with fireworks at Wat Chai Watthanaram Buddhist temple Thailand Buddhism
    New Year Celebrating the New Year in Thailand with fireworks at Wat Chai Watthanaram Buddhist temple Thailand.

     

     

    Annual Anniversary Days

    • January 1: Dudjom Rinpoche
    • February 12: Lama Thubten Yeshe
    • February 26: Milarepa
    • June 20: Guru Rinpoche (annual, not to be confused with the monthly celebration)
    • July 4: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche
    • July 6: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 86th birthday
    • July 24: Gampopa
    • September 7: His Holiness the Sakya Trichen’s 76th birthday
    • October 14: Sixteenth Karmapa
    • December 29: Lama Tsong Khapa

     

    Buddha Weekly Full moon and Naga on a Buddhist Temple Buddhism
    Full moon against the roof of a Buddhist Temple featuring a Naga decoration.

     

    Full Moon Days 2021

    • January 28
    • February 27
    • March 28 April 27
    • May 26
    • June 24
    • July 24
    • August 22
    • September 20
    • October 20
    • November 19
    • December 18

    Buddha Weekly Religious procession during Phi Mai Lao New Year celebrations in Luang Prabang Laos Buddhism
    New Year’s procession during Phi Mai Lao New Year celebrations in Luang Prabang Laos.

    New Moon Days 2021

    • January 13
    • February 11
    • March 13
    • April 11
    • May 11
    • June 10
    • July 9
    • August 8
    • September 6
    • October 6
    • November 4
    • December 4
    Buddha Weekly Medicine Buddha Sutra in lotus position with healing plants Buddhism
    Medicine Buddha.

    Medicine Buddha Puja 2021

    • January 21 and 28
    • 28 February 19 and 27
    • March 21 and 28
    • April 20 and 27
    • May 20 and 26
    • June 18 and 24
    • July 17 and 24
    • August 16 and 22
    • September 14 and 20
    • October 13 and 20
    • November 12 and 19
    • December 11 and 18

    Buddha Weekly Chittamani Tara feature horizontal Buddhism
    Chittamani Tara is similar in appearance to Green Tara — in fact she is Green Tara — although she is visualized with two lush blooming Uptala flowers over each shoulder. (Uptala is “night lotus) and blue.

    Tara Puja Days 2021

    • January 21
    • February 19
    • March 21
    • April 20
    • May 20
    • June 18
    • July 17
    • August 16
    • September 14
    • October 13
    • November 12
    • December 11
    Buddha Weekly Buddha Weekly Losar food Buddhism Buddhism
    Traditionally, altars with offerings for the Enlightened Ones should be laden and generous.

    Tsog Offering

    For a breakdown by Daka Tsog and Dakini Tsog see chart above.

    • January 8 and 23
    • February 6 and 22
    • March 8 and 23
    • April 6, 22
    • May 6 and 21
    • June 4 and 20
    • July 4 and 19
    • August 3 and 17
    • September 1 and 16
    • October 1 and 15 and 31
    • November 14 and 29
    • December 13 and 29

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    Lee Kane

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
    Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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