Jul 18, 2022 08:09 am
View of Swayambunath, Nepal, 2022. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.
Chokhor Duchen, one of the four annual holy days of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, takes place this year on August 1. On these holy days, the power of any meritorious action is multiplied by 100 million, as taught in the vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic.
Known in English as “Turning the Wheel of Dharma,” Chokhor Duchen commemorates the anniversary of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s first teaching. It is said that for seven weeks after his enlightenment, the Buddha did not teach. Afterward, Indra and Brahma offered a dharmachakra and a conch shell, and requested Guru Shakyamuni Buddha to teach. Accepting, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma for the first time at Sarnath in his teaching on the four noble truths.
Specific practices recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche for merit-multiplying days include:
In addition, Rinpoche recommends doing Shakyamuni Buddha Puja. A beautiful and deeply inspirational puja, the text was recently reformatted with hyperlinks for smooth navigation so that individuals can easily do the core practice and any additional ones as their time allows. (This puja was performed with Khandro Kunga Bhuma on Vesak Day 2022 at Losang Dragpa Centre in Malaysia with its resident teacher, Geshe Jampa Tsondu, as chant master. You can watch this online, starting at 6:10 in the video.)
A longer list of recommended practices can be found on “Practices for Merit Multiplying Days and Eclipses.” You can also find advice for merit-multiplying days in French and practice materials for merit-multiplying days in other language.
Of course, it is also good to do any of the other meritorious activities often advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on these great holy days.
In accordance with the advice of Ven. Choden Rinpoche, one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachers, Lama Zopa Rinpoche observes all the auspicious dates in the Buddhist calendar by Indian Standard time, instead of any other local time.
Celebrate International Sangha Day
Chokhor Duchen is also the day on which FPMT celebrates International Sangha Day! International Sangha Day provides an opportunity for monastic and lay communities to come together in recognition of their interdependence and celebrate the ways in which they mutually rely on each other’s practice of the Dharma. Donations may also be offered to the International Mahayana Institute, which supports the worldwide FPMT Sangha community.
You can watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche praise the amazing commitment of Sangha to live in the path in “The Sangha Are the Real Heroes Because They Are Defeating the Delusions.” You can find additional inspiration, encouragement, and advice for Sangha collected online.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche with senior teachers and staff from Kopan Monastery and Nunnery, Nepal, November 2021. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.
Offerings on Chokhor Duchen
Every merit multiplying day, the Puja Fund sponsors a large number of pujas and practices performed by thousands of Sangha. During this Chohkor Duchen, the Puja Fund will offer the following on behalf of the entire FPMT organization and all students, benefactors, and beings:
- Recitation of the Kangyur by Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery
- Recitation of the Prajnaparamita Sutra by Gyudmed Tantric College
- One Thousand Offerings to Namgyalma and Sixty-Four Offerings to Kalarupa by Sera Lachi Monastery and Gyuto Tantric College
- Medicine Buddha puja and Sixty-Four Offerings to Kalarupa by Gaden Lachi Monastery
- Namgyalma long life ritual and Sixty-Four Offerings to Kalarupa by Drepung Lachi Monastery
- Offerings to all of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s gurus and to over 10,000 Sangha, including those in International Mahayana Institute Sangha communities
- Offerings of robes to the Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India, and saffron and umbrellas to the Boudhanath and Swayambunath stupas in Nepal
- Printing sutras, making stupas and Buddha tsa-tsas, and liberating animals
Please consider joining in these pujas and offerings by supporting the Puja Fund.
Sangha at Kopan Monastery during a long life puja, Nepal, May 2022. Photo by Ven,. Lobsang Sherab.
Let’s rejoice in all of the meritorious activities happening in the FPMT and around the world on this auspicious merit-multiplying day!
Special thanks to the Liberation Prison Project for preparing this year’s Tibetan calendar. A limited view of the calendar is always available on “Dharma Practice Dates” as a courtesy to FPMT students.
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