Saga Dawa: The Sacred Month of Buddhism
The fourth lunar month holds immense significance for the Buddhist community as it marks the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana of Lord Buddha. Known as Saga Dawa, this auspicious month begins today and culminates on the full moon day, which falls on June 4th and is referred to as "Saga Dawa Duchen Nga Zom," meaning the "great occasion of five events."
During this sacred Duchen, we commemorate five pivotal moments in Lord Buddha's life. It is believed that on this momentous day, Buddha was conceived, born, overcame evil forces, attained enlightenment, and eventually entered parinirvana.
Hence, Saga Dawa is commonly known as the "month of merits." The term "Dawa" signifies "month," while "Saga" or "Saka" represents a prominent star in the sky during the fourth lunar month.
This period is dedicated to the accumulation of merits, which can be understood as the positive outcomes of virtuous actions, ultimately bringing us closer to enlightenment.
In early Buddhist teachings, the three primary aspects of meritorious actions are generosity (dana), morality (sila), and mental cultivation or meditation (bhavana).
However, there exist numerous ways to accumulate merits. On this auspicious day, the Buddha offered prayers for the liberation of all those who remember him, wishing for their release from suffering and the causes of suffering, leading them towards enlightenment and happiness.
It is important to note that any good deeds performed during this month are believed to be multiplied manifold. Thus, it is an opportune time to engage in spiritually beneficial positive actions.
Common practices observed during Saga Dawa to accumulate merit include refraining from eating meat, making donations to monasteries/nunneries or individual monks/nuns, reciting prayers and mantras (such as the refuge prayer, Om Mani Padme Hung mantra, or the Buddha Shakyamuni mantra), performing prostrations at sacred sites, providing alms to beggars, lighting butter lamps, embarking on pilgrimages to holy places, purchasing animals destined for slaughter and releasing them, and circumambulating stupas and other sacred locations.
Starting today , the sale of meat will be completely prohibited in the kingdom for a month, offering respite to innocent animals.
Let us all extend our warm wishes for a joyful Saga Dawa and aspire to embrace holiness in our lives.