Buddhist Philosophy

Remembering the Buddha on Saga Dawa Duchen

May everyone who sees a Buddha image, hears the Buddha’s name, or the dhāraṇī—or recalls his qualities—embark on the path to complete and perfect enlightenment!

Remembering the Buddha on Saga Dawa Duchen—his birth, enlightenment, and parinirvāṇa—means an opportunity to practice joyfully. We can take a pause from our busy concerns and reflect on the timeless message of the Buddha’s teaching. Samye Institute invites you to join us in celebrating this day.

In 2021, Saga Dawa Duchen falls on May 26 which is also a lunar eclipse.

Here, let us inspire you to offer praise, recite the Buddha’s dhāraṇī, practice visualization of the Supreme Sage and rejoice in the knowledge that all the merit gathered on this auspicious occasion is multiplied.

On this lunar eclipse day, we might also wish to joyfully recite Samantabhadra’s renowned aspiration to buddhahood prayer. We recall the vast motivation of the bodhisattva and aspire to follow in his footsteps for the benefit of all sentient beings. For those interested in learning more about this special prayer, please refer to Phakchok Rinpoche’s teachings in three parts which can be found here (Part One), here (Part Two), and here (Part Three).

May all that merit be dedicated to the awakening of our mothers, the limitless sentient beings!

Remembering the Buddha by Paying Homage

Please join in offering praise to the Buddha on this auspicious day.

tabkhé tukjé shakyé rik su trung
shyen gyi mitub dü kyi pung jompa
ser gyi lhünpo tabur jipé ku
shakyé gyalpo khyö la chaktsal lo

With skillful means and compassion, you were born in the Śākya clan,
Unconquerable by others, you vanquished Māra’s hordes,
Your physical form resplendent, like a mountain of gold.
To you, the King of Śākyas, I pay homage!

from The Great Praise of the Ten Acts of the Buddha by Ārya Nāgārjuna

Remembering the Buddha by Reciting the Buddha’s Dhāraṇī

teyata om muné muné maha munayé soha

from The Abridged Prajñāpāramitā

Mipham Rinpoche’s Instruction on Visualization of the Buddha

In general, whatever you are doing, whether it is moving, walking, sleeping or sitting, you should constantly remember the Buddha. Even at night, when you go to sleep, consider that the radiance of the Buddha’s form illuminates the whole of space in every direction, lighting it up as brightly as during the day. At all times, emulate the buddha’s actions from the moment he first generated the mind of awakening, and follow the example of the buddhas and great bodhisattvas of the past, present and future.

Maintaining your commitment to precious bodhicitta, without ever allowing it to waver, exert yourself as much as possible in the bodhisattvas’ conduct in general, and in the practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā in particular, so as to make meaningful the freedoms and advantages of this human existence. It is said in several sūtras that merely hearing the name of our teacher, the Buddha, ensures that one will gradually progress along the path to great enlightenment, without ever falling back.

It is also said that the dhāraṇī revealed above is the source of all the buddhas. It was through the force of discovering this dhāraṇī that the King of Śākyas himself attained enlightenment, and that Avalokiteśvara became the supreme of all the bodhisattvas. Through simply hearing this dhāraṇī, a vast accumulation of merit will easily be gained and all karmic obscurations will be purified, and when reciting it, obstacles will not occur. This has been taught in the abridged Prajñāpāramitā.

Other teachings say that by reciting this dhāraṇī only once, all the harmful actions you have committed throughout 800,000 kalpas will be purified. They say that it possesses boundless qualities such as these, and is the sacred heart-essence of Buddha Śākyamuni. The way to generate faith and exert oneself in the practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā are explained elsewhere.

from The Treasury of Blessings by Mipham Rinpoche



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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.