Celebrating the Lunar: Special Dates in 2021 for Buddha Dharma Practice including Buddha Days, Tsog, Medicine Buddha, Tara

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.

The most common lunar recurring dates in Vajrayana Buddhism (Tsog, Tara and Medicine Buddha recurring days), transferred to the western calendar are:

 

MONTH

DAKIKI TSOG

DAKA TSOG/GURU RINPOCHE

TARA DAYS

MEDICINE BUDDHA DAY

January

January 8, 2021

January 23, 2021

February

February 6, 2021

February 22, 2021

February 19, 2021

February 27, 2021

March

March 8, 2021

March 23, 2021

March 21, 2021

March 28, 2021

April

April 6, 2021

April 22, 2021

April 20, 2021

April 27, 2021

May

May 6, 2021

May 21, 2021

May 20, 2021

May 26, 2021

June

June 5, 2021

June 20, 2021

June 18, 2021

June 24, 2021

July

July 4, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 17, 2021

July 24, 2021

August

August 3, 2021

August 17, 2021

August 16, 2021

August 22, 2021

September

September 1, 2021

September 16, 2021

September 14, 2021

September 20, 2021

October

October 1, 2021

October 15, 2021

October 13, 2021

October 20, 2021

November

November 14, 2021

November 29, 2021

November 12, 2021

November 19, 2021

December

December 13, 2013

December 29, 2021

December 11, 2021

December 18, 2021

 

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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

tibetan butter lamp wrap 205314651 tiled

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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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