Saga Dawa is the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent to Vesak, which is the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana of Buddha all combined. This year, Saga Dawa falls on June 15, 2011.
It’s based on the Tibetan lunar calendar, falling on the full moon of the fourth month. During this large festival event, people refrain from killing and give alms to monastics.
Also, this time is known for the Tarboche prayer flag. People from all over Tibet gather at Tarboche, and bring prayer flags that they put together. Then the flags are hosited up. On the flags are writings and prayers, and the idea is that the wind will blow the prayers out and help purify the environment and spread peace.
Praise to Buddha Shakyamuni
Within the Tibetan Tradition, and specifically within the Gelug tradition, it’s very common to recite a praise to Buddha Shakyamuni before teachings. I was thinking since Saga Dawa is in 2 days, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.
To the Guru and Founder, the Endowed Transcendent Destroyer, the One Gone Beyond, the Foe Destroyer, The Completely Perfected, Fully Awakened Being, perfect in knowledge and in good conduct, Sugata, Knower of the World, Supreme Guide of human beings to be tamed, teacher of gods and human beings; to you, the Completely and Fully Awakened One, the Endowed Transcendent Destroyer, the Glorious Conqueror, the Subduer from the Shakya Clan, I prostrate, make offerings and go for refuge.
When, O supreme among humans, you were born on this earth,
You paced out seven strides,
Then said,”I am supreme in this world”.
To you, who were wise then, I prostrate.
With pure bodies, form supremely pure;
Wisdom ocean,like a golden mountain;
Fame that blazes in the three worlds,
Winner of the best – Lord, to you I prostrate.
With the supreme signs, face like spotless moon,
Colour like gold – to you, I prostrate.
You are immaculate, the three worlds are not.
Incomparably Wise One – to you I prostrate.
The Saviour having great compassion,
The Founder having all understanding,
The Field of Merit with qualities like a vast ocean –
To you, the One Gone to Thusness, I prostrate.
The purity which makes one free from attachment,
The virtue which frees one from the lower realms,
The one path, the sublime pure reality –
To that Dharma which pacifies, I prostrate.
Those who are liberated and who also show the path to liberation,
The holy field qualified with realisations,
Who are devoted to the moral precepts –
To you, the sublime community intending virtue, I prostrate.
Homage to the supreme Buddha!
Homage to the Dharma refuge!
Homage to the great Sangha!
To all three, ever-devout homage!
To all worthy of respect,
Bowing with bodies as many as
All realms’ atoms, in all aspects,
With supreme faith I pay homage.
Do not commit any non-virtuous actions,
Perform only perfect virtuous actions,
Subdue your mind thoroughly –
This is the teaching of the Buddha.
A star, a mirage, a flame of a lamp,
An illusion, a drop of dew, or a bubble,
A dream. a flash of lightning, a cloud –
See conditioned things as such!
Through these merits may sentient beings attain the rank of all-seeing,
Subdue the foe of faults,
And be delivered from samasara’s ocean,
Perturbed by the waves of ageing, sickness and death.