2023: Celebrating the Lunar: Special “moon” dates 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. (Dates below are updated to 2023!) 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 2023, see our Dharma Calendar>>

     

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    Mahayana Special Days on Western Calendar 2023

    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.

    Buddha Days Converted to Western Calendar

    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, 2023, New Year varies depending on tradition. Chinese Buddhists use the lunisolar lunar calendar, while Tibetan Buddhism uses the most strict lunar dates. In Tibetan Buddhism, New Year is called Losar (Lunar New Year) falls on February 21, 2023. This day is also the first day of the 15 Days of Buddha’s Miracles.

    In Chinese Buddhism and Japanese Zen, the New year, on the lunisolar calendar is on January 22, 2023!

    Meanwhile, Mahayana Buddhists recognize New Year as January 7, 2023.

    2023 is the YEAR OF THE WATER RABIT — 2150 on the Tibetan Calendar.

     

    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.

     

    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 2023

    There are 13 full moon days in 2023!

    • January 6, 2023 — the Wolf Moon
    • February 5, 2023 — the Snow Moon
    • March 7, 2023 — the Worm Moon
    • April 6, 2023 — the Pink Moon
    • May 5, 2023 — the Flower Moon — penumbral lunar eclipse!!
    • June 3, 2023 — the Strawberry Moon
    • July 3, 2023 — the Buck Moon
    • August 1, 2023 — Sturgeon Moon
    • August 30, 2023 — Blue Moon!
    • September 29, 2023 — Harvest Moon — penumbral lunar eclipse!
    • October 28, 2023 — Hunter’s Moon
    • November 27, 2023 — Beaver Moon
    • December 26, 2023 — Cold Moon

    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 2023

    • January 21, 2023 — New Snow Moon
    • February 20, 2023 — New Worm Moon
    • March 21, 2023 — New Pink Moon
    • April 20, 2023 — New Flower Moon
    • May 19, 2023 — New Strawberry Moon
    • June 18, 2023 — New Buck Moon
    • July 17, 2023 — New Sturgeon Moon
    • August 16, 2023 — New Blue Moon
    • September 14, 2023 — New Harvest Moon
    • October 14, 2023 — New Hunter’s Moon
    • November 13, 2023 — New Beaver Moon
    • December 12, 2023 — New Cold Moon
    Buddha Weekly Medicine Buddha Sutra in lotus position with healing plants Buddhism
    Medicine Buddha is an ideal practice for full moon days, or any day!

    Medicine Buddha Puja 2023

    Medicine Buddha Puja is traditionally celebrated on the full moon of the lunar calendar. It may also be honored on the 8th of the lunar month along with Tara Pujas.

    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 2023

    Tara Puja Days are traditional celebrated on the 8th of the Lunar month — known affectionately as Tara Day! It is also often performed and honored on the full moon and all auspicious days. Any day can be Tara Day! For more on Tara Days and why they’re important, see>>

    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 dates see our Dharma Dates calendar. There are traditionally two:

    • Daka (Hero) Tsog: 10th day of the lunar month
    • Dakini (Heroine or Yogini) Tsog: 25th day of the lunar month.
    • For all Tsog dates converted to the Western Calendar, see our Dharma Dates 2023>>

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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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