About Saka Dawa
SAKA DAWA IS HOLY MONTH
What Does “Saka Dawa” Mean?
In Tibetan language, Saka is lunar 4th month name and one star’s name. Dawa means month and moon. The Saka, comes from Tibetan astrology, and the Saka star which is associated with the full moon of the fourth lunar month.
As we enter the holy month of Saka Dawa, I would like to share something of how Tibetans observe this most sacred or Buddhist Holy Month, when we celebrate the birth, enlightenment and maha parinirvana (death of the Buddha Shakyamuni ). The merit of any good deeds that you perform during this month are considered to be multiplied many times over, so it is an excellent time to dedicate ourselves to all kinds of positive spiritual actions.
The Saka Dawa takes place in the fourth Tibetan lunar month,
Most holy of all is the full moon day of Saka Dawa, the 15th day of the month, the date most commonly associated with Buddha’s birth and also his enlightenment and mahaparinirvana. Some good actions that are commonly taken to accumulate merit during Saka Dawa, especially on the 15th day, include:
Refraining from eating meat.
Making offering to monasteries, or monks and nuns.
Offering flowers, food, water, so on. Offerings can be anything from your heart without any attachment.
Going on pilgrimages to holy places.
Circumambulating around stupas or other holy places.
Prostrations to the Buddha.
Giving money or food to beggars (In India’s and Nepal’s holy places, beggars line the roads on the 15th day or 30 of Saka Dawa, knowing they will receive food, money, so on.).
Buying all kinds of animals that are going to be killed and releasing them. For example Fish, crab so on…
Praying and reciting mantras (such as the refuge prayer, or the Buddha Shakyamuni mantra, or the heart sutra) Tad ya tha om muni muni maha muni shakya muni soha , or Tad ya tha om gate gate paragate para sum gate bodhi svaha.
It is very common as well to take the eight mahayana precepts for twenty-four hours during Saka Dawa, especially on either the full moon day or new moon day – the 15th day or the 30th day of Saka Dawa. The full moon day is considered to be more powerful for the accumulation of merit. Taking these precepts for the entire month is also common. At a minimum, be vegetarian.
Note: According to the western calendar, the 4th month begins May 12th, 2021. The last day of the 4th month is June 10th. The 15th day of the 4th month is Tuesday, May 26th.