Annual Main Buddhist Festival Days
The Four Buddha Days
There are four major Special Buddha days
or "Festivals" (düchen) in a year which relate
to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. During these days, it
is said that the effects of positive or negative actions
are multiplied 100 million times, so practice is strongly
See the Program
Calendar for the western dates.
Day of Miracles - Chotrul Düchen
During the first two weeks after the new year (Losar in
Tibetan), it is celebrated that the Buddha displayed a miracle
each day to increase the merit and devotion of future disciples.
During these days, the Gelugpa Mönlam Chenmo (great prayer
festival) is celebrated and extra practice is highly advised.
The 15th of the 1st month is the major
festival, the "Day of Miracles". Lama
Zopa Rinpoche gives special advice for practice during
this period at this
Buddha Shakyamuni's Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana
- Saka Dawa Düchen
The 15th of the 4th Tibetan month, Buddha
Shakyamuni's Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana are celebrated.
He was born in Lumbini (current-day Nepal) became enlightened
in Bodhgaya (India) and entered parinirvana ("passed
away") in Kushinagar (India). As cited by Lama Zopa
Rinpoche in the Vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and
Logic, virtuous actions done on this day are multiplied
one hundred million times.
Practices specifically recommended by Rinpoche for Saka
- Taking the Eight
- Doing Nyung
- Performing the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha puja
- Of course, any other meritorious activities often advised
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche are also good to do on this day,
such as recitation of the Sanghatastura, Golden Light
Sutra, etc. with extensive dedications. These texts are
available on Lama
Zopa Rinpoche’s advice page.
First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma - Chökhor Düchen
The 4th of the 6th month, the "First
Turning of the Wheel of Dharma" (first teaching) is
celebrated. For the first seven weeks after his Enlightenment,
Buddha did not teach. Encouraged by Indra and Brahma, he
then gave his first teachings at Sarnath on the Four Noble
Truths, which forms the basis of the Buddhist teachings.
Buddha Shakyamuni's Descent from the Heaven of 33 -
Lha Bab Düchen
The 22nd of the 9th month, 'Buddha Shakyamuni's
Descent from the Heaven of 33' is celebrated. Buddha's mother
had been reborn in Indra's heaven. To repay her kindness
and to benefit the gods, Buddha spent three months teaching
in the Heaven of 33. This is not as often stated, in
Tushita heaven; Tushita is the realm where the Buddha
lived before he descended to Earth. Possibly somewhat confusing
can be that one week before, on the 15th of the 9th month,
it is celebrated that he accepted to return from the Heaven
Solar and Lunar Eclipses
During a (partial) solar eclipse the
effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied
by 100 million times according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
During (partial) lunar eclipse, the factor is 7 million;
practices like taking the Eight Mahayana Precepts are thus
Lama Tsong Khapa Day
The 25th of the 10th Tibetan month,
the anniversary of Lama Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelugpa
tradition is celebrated. Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises practices
for this day on this
Birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
This is celebrated on the 6th of Juni of the Western calendar
In the Theravada
tradition the following main full-moon days are
observed (information from the website of Urban
Magha Puja (‘Sangha
The Buddha gave the teaching on the basis of the
discipline (Ovada Patimokkha) to the spontaneous
gathering of 1250 arahants.
Vesakha Puja (Wesak) (‘Buddha
The birth, enlightenment and passing away of the
Buddha. This is basically the same as the Tibetan
Saga Dawa, although over the centuries, about one
month difference has appeared in the calendars.
Asalha Puja (‘Dhamma Day’)
The Buddha’s first discourse, given to the
five samanas in the Deer Park at Sarnath, near Varanasi.
The traditional Rainy-Season Retreat (Vassa) begins
on the next day.
This marks the end of the three-month Vassa-retreat.
In the following month, lay people may offer the
Kathina-robe as part of a general alms-giving ceremony.