The 4th Bhutanese lunar month is the most sacred month for the entire Buddhist community where we all celebrate the birth, the enlightenment and the parinirvana of Lord Buddha.
This year Saga Dawa begin from ttomorrow, 23rd May and end on the 21st June. The full moon day that falls in the middle of the lunar month (5th June) is known as "Saga Dawa Duchen Nga Zom", Duchen means "great occasion" and Nga zom means "five events".
During this sacred Duchen, five major events took place in Lord Buddha's life. Buddha is believed to have conceived, born, to have defeated evil forces, attained enlightenment and passed away into parinirvana on this great day.
Therefore, Saga Dawa is called the "month of merits". Dawa means "month" and "Saga" or "Saka" is the name of a star prominent in the sky during the fourth lunar month.
This is a month especially dedicated to "making merit." Merit is understood in many ways in Buddhism. We can think of it as the fruits of good karma, especially when this brings us closer to enlightenment.
In early Buddhist teachings, the three grounds of meritorious action are generosity (dana), morality (sila), and mental culture or meditation (bhavana), although there are many ways to make merit.
The Buddha also made prayers that whosoever remembers him on this day be liberated from suffering and cause of suffering and reach enlightenment and happiness.
It is also to be noted that the merit of any good deeds perform during this month are considered to be multiplied by million times. So it is an excellent time to dedicate ourselves to all kinds of spiritually benefiting positive actions.
At the same time the negative deeds will also be multiplied by million times. Means, if you consume 1 kg meat, you are consuming 1 million kgs.
Some good actions that are commonly taken to accumulate merit during Saka Dawa, especially on the 15th day, are:
· Refraining from eating meat
· Offering donations to monasteries/nunneries, or to individual monks/nuns
· Praying and reciting mantras (such as the refuge prayer, for example, the Om Mani Padme hung mantra, or the Buddha Shakyamuni mantra)
· Making prostrations around holy sites.
· Giving money to beggars
· Lighting butter lamps
· Making pilgrimages to holy places
· Buying all kinds of animals that are going to be killed and releasing it.
· Circumambulating around stupas or other holy places.
From tomorrow the meat sale in the kingdom will be totally banned for a month, a great relief to the innocent animals and gods too.
“Happy Saga Dawa to all, Be as holy as possible”