The fourth month in the Tibetan lunar calendar is called Saga Dawa and is considered to be the most auspicious month of the year. It is also called the ‘Month of Merits’ and practitioners take extra care to perform meritorious deeds and avoid harmful actions during this time. The effects of these actions are thought to be multiplied a thousandfold throughout the month!
Within this month, on the 15th day of the Tibetan calendar, is the great festival day of Saga Dawa Düchen which commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvāṇa of the Buddha. (In other traditions, this day might be called Buddha Purnima, Vesak, or Buddha Jayanti and, due to following different calendars, is normally celebrated earlier in the year.) With unlimited Compassion, the supreme emanation body of our skillful sublime teacher, Buddha Śākyamuni, was born in the Lumbini garden on this day. Later, he achieved complete and perfect Enlightenment at Bodhgaya. Finally, at Kushinagar, he achieved non-abiding Nirvāṇa. The effects of positive and negative actions are thought to be multiplied 10 million times on this day making it a very auspicious day to do spiritual practice, perform good deeds, sponsor prayers, and make offerings.
At Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery on Saga Dawa Düchen the monks perform the Padma Natesvar Avalokiteśvara (Pema Garwang) Pūjā. Normally, Arya Avalokiteśvara is seen in his white, peaceful form. However, in the Chokling Tersar, Arya Avalokiteśvara is in his red form which represents his determination and self-sacrifice not to enter the blissful state of Nirvāṇa until all sentient beings are liberated.
The Padma Natesvar Avalokiteśvara (Pema Garwang) Pūjā is performed with the aspiration that Compassion will arise where it has not arisen, where it has arisen it will not wane but further and further increase. Avalokiteśvara’s blessings enable us to cultivate Compassion and fulfill our aspirations. May the virtue of anyone who rejoices in this be dedicated to the Enlightenment of all sentient beings.