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buddhist holly day butter lamp festival day of miracles monlam chemo

Buddhist Holy Day: Day of Miracles

Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, one of the annual Buddhist Holy Days, according to the lunar calendar, is the Day of Miracles.

At the time of the Buddha, 6 great Hindu teachers, representing the 6 great schools of Hinduism, at the time, challenged Shakyamuni Buddha to a competition of miracles. The Buddha purposely avoided these things because people are easily interested in mundane powers instead of practicing Dharma.

As the story goes, through his clairovoyance, he understood they wouldn’t be subdued unless he performed the miracles, so he outdid them for 15 days and the 6 scholars converted to Buddhism. Otherwise, the Buddha avoided displays of powers.

Within the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, talking about having visions of tantric deities, showing off clairovoyance and other powers is frowned upon. This is mainly because not everyone can have these things, even though many attained practitioners can have them, but prefer to hide these qualities from others.

What is more praised, is developing sharp reasoning and logic, and engaging in thoural study because these are things everyone can do.

buddhist holly day butter lamp festival day of miracles monlam chemo

The Butterlamp Festival - Choengpa Choepa

Choenga Choepa – Butter Lamp Festival

To commemerate the Day of Miracles, there is an annual Butter Lamp Festival that occurs annually according to the lunar calendar, and it occurs after Losar, the Tibetan New year. Thousands of butter lamps are sculpted out of butter, and are lit for this festival.

Light plays a significant role in Buddhist symbolism, with the removel of darkness representing wisdom replacing ignorance. The Butter Lamp Festival this year, falls on March 19, 2011.

buddhist holly day butter lamp festival day of miracles monlam chemo

Buddhist Holy Day Festival - Monlam Chenmo

Monlam Chenmo – The Great Prayer Festival

Lama Tsongkhapa started the first one in 1409, when he invited the people from all over Tibet to Lhasa, to celebrate a festival for 2 weeks. It’s said that hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions showed up. It is marked by elaborate rituals, prayers, teachings, and debatings.

The purpose of the festival is to pray for the long life of teachers, the survival of Buddhist lineages, the spreading of the teachings, and world peace.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave some advice to FPMT organizations, in regards to prayers to do during Monlam Chenmo, 2 years ago. However, it’s still pretty relevent. The list of prayers can be found here.


Buddhist Holy Days

Monlam Chenmo

Related Posts:

More Buddhist Holy Days…

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