Buddha Days at Kagyu Ling
The Tibetan Buddhist calendar has four main days in the year. These commemorate events in the life of the Buddha. It is said that the merit from dharma practice done on these days is multiplied many millions of times.
At Kagyu Ling on these days we recite the praise of the Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha and perform the ritual practice of the Sixteen Arhats. These Arhats were realised disciples of the Buddha who made a particular vow to preserve and protect his teaching.
The four Buddha Days (Tib. Duchen) are:
Chotrul Duchen: this marks fifteen days of miraculous powers displayed by Shakyamuni Buddha in order to subdue six contemporary spiritual teachers (tirthikas) and to inspire faith in his own followers. It falls on the 15th day of the 1st Tibetan month in the year – usually February in the western calendar.
Saga Dawa Duchen: this commemorates both the enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha. It takes place on the full moon day of the 4th Tibetan month, which is called Saga Dawa – mid-May in the western calendar.
Chokor Duchen: literally the ‘turning of the dharma wheel’, this marks the first teaching given by the Buddha, in the deer park at Sarnath. It falls on the 4th day of the 6th Tibetan month – in July or August.
Lhabab Duchen: the ‘descent from the gods’, this commemorates Shakyamuni Buddha’s return to this world from the realm of the Thirty-Three Gods, after teaching dharma for several months to the gods there, including his mother, Mayadevi, who had died a week after Buddha’s birth and been reborn there. It falls on the 22nd day of the 9th Tibetan month – in October or November.
Marking Buddha days at Kagyu Ling
The Sixteen Sthaviras pujas is celebrated to mark the Buddha days.
People who have taken refuge are welcome to sit in during the puja, although it is necessary to have received initiation and instruction from a qualified Buddhist teacher to participate in the practice.