Celebrating the Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment & Parinirvana

Saga Dawa 2021 


A Special Opportunity

During the holy month of Saga Dawa, we celebrate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing away into parinirvana. The effects of any positive actions are amplified, so it’s particularly potent and beneficial to do extra practice, study, and generate merit during this time.

Saga Dawa is a Tibetan Buddhist holy month that takes place according to the lunar calendar, so its dates change slightly each year: in 2021, Saga Dawa is from May 12 – June 10, with the auspicious full moon day of Saga Dawa Duchen falling on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

A Month of Healing

This year, we’d like to ask our community to celebrate Saga Dawa as a month of healing, by focusing on Medicine Buddha visualization and mantra. We will practice Medicine Buddha prayers during our weekly chants from 6:15 – 6:45 pm on Tuesdays. You may also be interested in the Shakyamuni Buddha workshop on Saturday, May 22.

Saga Dawa Practice Sessions

We will hold two special practice sessions during Saga Dawa that all are welcome to join, during which we will chant prayers and mantras of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Medicine Buddha.

  • Saturday, May 15 from 10:00 – 11:30 am, PT on Zoom
  • Saturday, June 5th from 10:00 – 11:30 am, PT on Zoom

Cost: Free, but donations are very much appreciated.


Medicine Buddha Mantra Accumulation

For those interested, we’d like to invite you to focus on evoking healing for yourself, loved ones, and the entire world — by challenging yourself to accumulate 108 Medicine Buddha mantras each day (15-20 minutes/day) during Saga Dawa!

Please sign up below if you are participating in mantra accumulation so we can remind you to send us your total a few days before the deadline! We’d like to receive all mantra counts by June 4th, so that we can rejoice and dedicate the total at our June 5th practice session together.

Wishing you a wonderful Saga Dawa!


About Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa is the most holy month of the year for Tibetan Buddhists. It usually starts in May or June. 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 and the Buddha’s Enlightenment and Parinirvana, which 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. 

If you’d like to do something special during this period of time, we recommend reading and reciting sutras, doing extra practice, as well as observing vegetarianism and going alcohol-free.

Activities at Nyingma Institute

At the Nyingma Institute, we celebrate Saga Dawa each year with events and devotional practice, with traditional practices led by  the deans, Lama Palzang and Pema Gellek.

Usually we celebrate in the meditation garden, however this year it is under construction! Learn more.