Saga Dawa Celebration
Novice monks seated in a row for alms on Saga Dawa day, at the base of Boudhnath stupa. For nearly 2,600 years, Buddhists have honored Shakyamuni Buddha's passing away into parinirvana, as well as his birth and awakening, with a traditional celebration often called Vesak. Vesak is a great time when followers of all Buddhist traditions make offerings to the Buddha. These offerings are unlimited and can be an extensive offering of lights, flowers, incense and anything that we as humans find pleasant. During Vesak celebration it is important to contemplate the great kindness of the Buddha. He gave us the 84,000 teachings of the Dharma and showed us that we all possess the capacity to become fully awakened beings and help others to achieve the same, just as Buddha himself did. Vesak is an excellent time for all of us to especially honor all of our Gurus, great teachers and Dharma friends. These are the beings who truly support our practice, although we often do not fully realize it.
Saka Dawa is the special month in which the Buddha’s conception, birth, awakening, and parinirvana all occur. In particular, the full moon day, or 15th day, of the fourth month marks the holiest day in Tibetan Buddhism. It is the day of the Buddha’s Conception, Birth, Awakening, and parting into Nirvana. (Some traditions celebrate Buddha's birthday on this day, some on the 5th day of the month.) It is auspicious to perform meritorious activities on this specific day. The merit generated from these virtuous activities increases 100,000-fold on this day in Saka Dawa.