Saga Dawa Düchen, the ‘Festival of Vaishakha’, is one of the four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the full moon (the 15th day) of the fourth Tibetan lunar month, which is called Saga Dawa in Tibetan. It celebrates Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment and parinirvana. At the age of thirty-five Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. This day also marks the anniversary of his parinirvana at Kushinagara.
Remembering the Buddha on Saga Dawa Duchen—his birth, enlightenment, and parinirvāṇa—means an opportunity to practice joyfully. We can take a pause from our busy concerns and reflect on the timeless message of the Buddha’s teaching.
Here, let us inspire you to offer praise, recite the Buddha’s dhāraṇī, practice visualization of the Supreme Sage, and rejoice in the knowledge that all the merit gathered on this auspicious occasion is multiplied.
May all that merit be dedicated to the awakening of our mothers, the limitless sentient beings!
Remembering the Buddha by Paying Homage
Please join in offering praise to the Buddha on this auspicious day.
tabkhé tukjé shakyé rik su trung
shyen gyi mitub dü kyi pung jompa
ser gyi lhünpo tabur jipé ku
shakyé gyalpo khyö la chaktsal lo
With skillful means and compassion, you were born in the Śākya clan,from The Great Praise of the Ten Acts of the Buddha by Ārya Nāgārjuna
Unconquerable by others, you vanquished Māra’s hordes,
Your physical form resplendent, like a mountain of gold.
To you, the King of Śākyas, I pay homage!
Remembering the Buddha by Reciting the Buddha’s Dhāraṇī
teyata om muné muné maha munayé sohafrom The Abridged Prajñāpāramitā
TADYATHĀ OṂ MUNE MUNE MAHĀMUNAYE SVĀHĀ
Mipham Rinpoche’s Instruction on Visualization of the Buddha
In general, whatever you are doing, whether it is moving, walking, sleeping or sitting, you should constantly remember the Buddha. Even at night, when you go to sleep, consider that the radiance of the Buddha’s form illuminates the whole of space in every direction, lighting it up as brightly as during the day. At all times, emulate the buddha’s actions from the moment he first generated the mind of awakening, and follow the example of the buddhas and great bodhisattvas of the past, present and future.
Maintaining your commitment to precious bodhicitta, without ever allowing it to waver, exert yourself as much as possible in the bodhisattvas’ conduct in general, and in the practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā in particular, so as to make meaningful the freedoms and advantages of this human existence. It is said in several sūtras that merely hearing the name of our teacher, the Buddha, ensures that one will gradually progress along the path to great enlightenment, without ever falling back.
It is also said that the dhāraṇī revealed above is the source of all the buddhas. It was through the force of discovering this dhāraṇī that the King of Śākyas himself attained enlightenment, and that Avalokiteśvara became the supreme of all the bodhisattvas. Through simply hearing this dhāraṇī, a vast accumulation of merit will easily be gained and all karmic obscurations will be purified, and when reciting it, obstacles will not occur. This has been taught in the abridged Prajñāpāramitā.
Other teachings say that by reciting this dhāraṇī only once, all the harmful actions you have committed throughout 800,000 kalpas will be purified. They say that it possesses boundless qualities such as these, and is the sacred heart-essence of Buddha Śākyamuni. The way to generate faith and exert oneself in the practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā are explained elsewhere.from The Treasury of Blessings by Mipham Rinpoche