Saga Dawa: May 26 – June 25, 2017

In celebration of the Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment & Parinirvana

About Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa is the most holy month of the year for Tibetan Buddhists. During this very special time, meritorious action is multiplied 100,000 times, so positive actions are especially powerful. The most important days within the month of Saga Dawa are the birth of the Buddha on June 1st and the Buddha’s Enlightenment and Parinirvana on June 9th. In Tibetan, the full moon day of June 9th is known as Saga Dawa Düchen; düchen means “great occasion.”

Buddhists may travel to temples and monasteries to practice in a formal but celebratory way by reciting devotional prayer, sutras and mantras. They also may make a point to go on pilgrimage, practice circumambulation, and make offerings of generosity and butter lamps throughout this month. Of these meritorious practices, one of the most important is reciting and honoring the precious words of the Buddha.

Activities at Nyingma Institute

At the Nyingma Institute, we celebrate Saga Dawa with retreats, events and devotional practice. This year, offerings include traditional practices led by one of the deans, Lama Palzang. The Saga Dawa celebration will begin with an “Honoring the Buddha” day-long retreat on May 27 from 10 AM to 4:45 PM led by Lama Palzang.

The meditation garden will be transformed into a beautiful oasis of contemplation and devotion with the addition of a large Shakyamuni Buddha altar created especially for this celebration. The traditional ornamentation and rich colors offer a focal point for practice, and the beautiful and vibrant space evokes a joyful and open state of mind.

Open to the Public

On Tuesdays from 10:30 AM to noon and Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 PM we will lead a practice of reading sutras, prayers and circumambulating the sacred monuments in the garden. During this time, participants are invited to bring a sutra they would like to read.

The garden will be open every day from 9 AM to 6 PM. Reading material, sutras and mantras will be provided as a support. Please stop by to practice individually, as a group or at one of our scheduled events.

Ways to Participate

Friday, June 9th

6 PM – 8 PM

Celebration with the Kanjur

Join us in a special event dedicated to honoring the Buddha. Altars and tables containing the Kanjur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon containing the words of the Buddha, festooned with colorful fabric will greet visitors, as sacred melodies gently sound, rose petals are tossed, and incense wafts through the air.

As part of the celebration, we will carry the Kanjur texts and butter lamp offerings around the Institute and through the sacred meditation garden while chanting the Shakyamuni mantra to evoke the blessings of the Buddha.

We would like to have 108 participants, so that together we can carry the many volumes of the Kanjur. Please RSVP here to be one of the 108:  Eventbrite 

Friday, June 9th

9 PM – 7 AM

All-night Vigil

At 9 PM, after a brief tea break, we will begin our annual candlelit all-night vigil to honor the Enlightenment and Parinirvana of the Buddha. Please sign up for 2 hour sessions of chanting, contemplation and meditation in the meditation garden. Overnight participants may stay in one of the Institute’s comfortable rooms for free. Accommodations are limited so please reserve a room early. Cushions, mats and blankets are provided, but feel free to bring your own.

Vigil sign-up times are 9-11 PM, 11 PM-1 AM, 1 AM-3 AM, 3 AM-5 AM, 5 AM-7 AM. Please sign up by emailing or calling the front desk.

All Saga Dawa events other than the day-long retreat are free, but donations are gratefully accepted and much appreciated. 

Saturday, June 10th

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Community Brunch

We will provide a spread of simple but nourishing foods:  breakfast potatoes, frittata, fruit, cheese, bread, tea and coffee. Afterwards, Lama Palzang will lead us in a short practice session in the garden. Please feel free to bring flowers as an offering, or a dessert to share with the community.

Important: Please RSVP by June 6th, so we know how many people to expect and can shop accordingly. Thank you! 

Update: Please RSVP at Eventbrite for brunch

Donations are gratefully accepted and much appreciated. 

Tuesdays & Thursdays from May 30 – June 22

Tuesdays from 10:30 AM to noon
Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Practice Sessions in the Meditation Garden

Join us to practice together by reading sutras and prayers and circumambulating the sacred monuments in the garden. Participants are also invited to bring a sutra they would like to read.

Daily from May 28 – June 25

10 AM to 6 PM

Visit the Meditation Garden & Special Altar

Stop by to practice or enjoy the beauty of our meditation garden and the special altar anytime between 10 AM and 6 PM. You can stop by individually or bring a group of friends. Reading material, sutras and mantras will be provided as a support for practice.

Invite your friends

Please feel free to share with anyone you’d like to invite!