HAPPY SAGA DAWA DUCHEN: May 23 Celebrating Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Paranirvana!

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    Saga Dawa collage 2024 3

    Why is this day important? It not only celebrates the Buddha conquering Samsara, but the Mahayana promise that all beings can ultimately attain Buddhahood and their own Nirvana.

    Saga Dawa Duchen is a day of highest merits — may all beings benefit! Every positive karma activity is multiplied many times on this most sacred of days according to sacred texts.

    How to Celebrate Saga Dawa Duchen

    The most important day in the month (perhaps for the entire year, for many Buddhists) is Saga Dawa Duchen on the full moon. Duchen means “great occasion,” and this year falls on the full moon day, June 14. It is similar to Vesak in Theravadin Buddhism  — celebrating the birth, Enlightenment and Paranirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha, but is based on the Tibetan lunar calendar. Both are the “4th month” of the lunar calendars, but they are calculated differently. (See this feature on lunar confusion for clarification>>)

    The day of the “Great Occasion” this year on June 4, 2023 is the best day of the entire year for “making merit” for the benefit of all sentient beings. In addition to the 8 precepts, other activities recommended include:

    Taking the 8 Precepts for a day

    The late, great Lama Zopa recommends taking the full 8 precepts — the precepts of a monk or nun — for the day. Traditionally, lay disciples follow five of the precepts — but for the day they take all eight. This should be done in the early morning (earlier the better!) He explains:

    “Taking the eight Mahayana precepts is a way to make life meaningful, to take its essence all day and night, by taking vows,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche has taught. “It is so simple. It is just for one day. Just for one day. It makes it so easy.”

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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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