Saka Dawa is the “month of merits” for Tibetan Buddhists. It’s one of the most sacred Buddhist holidays, when the birth, Enlightenment and death (paranirvana) of Buddha Shakyamuni is celebrated, the three most important events in his life.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that during Saka Dawa, the karmic results of virtuous and non-virtuous actions are magnified. All Buddhists, lay or ordained, observe it with the practice of accumulation and purification.
This is a month especially dedicated to “making merit”. The merit of any good deeds during this month are considered to be multiplied many times, by as much as one hundred million times, so it’s an excellent time to dedicate ourselves to all kinds of positive actions.
One of the ways to make merit is by not eating meat.
The last few years, I ate less meat. Last year, I decided not to eat meat or fish one month, during Saka Dawa. I thought that was a good occasion and until then that was the longest period that I didn’t eat meat or fish. Later I have continued this, and on 1st January 2015 I made the pledge to eat as much vegetarian as possible, and to put one euro in a money-box for each day that I eat meat or fish, and at the end of this year I’m going to donate this money to a charity for animals here in Belgium (GAIA).
Recently I posted a horrible video by Animal Equality on Facebook that was recorded undercover inside slaughterhouses . A few friends wrote me that they were shocked to see this video and decided to eat less or no meat anymore. I suggested to reduce eating meat during Saka Dawa, like I did in 2014.
Therefore this “event”: the pledge not to eat meat or fish (or at least to eat less) during Saka Dawa 2015.
Saka Dawa begins on 19th May and ends on 16th June 2015. Most holy is the full moon day of Saka Dawa, the 15th of that month, the date most commonly associated with Buddha’s birth, his Enlightenment and paranirvana. In 2015, the 15th of the month is on 2nd June 2015.
Feel free to participate or not. Thanks.
Other actions that are commonly taken to accumulate merit during Saka Dawa:
– offering donations to monasteries/nunneries or individual monks/nuns
– praying and reciting mantras (like the refuge prayer or the “om mani padme hung” mantra or Buddha Shakyamuni mantra)
– giving money to beggars
– buying all kinds of animals that are going to be killed and releasing them (e.g. fish)
– circumambulating around holy places or stupas while reciting mantras
– any Buddhist practice like meditation
– any other virtuous actions, like the then paramitas* (perfections, virtues)
* The ten paramitas: (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (śīla), (3) patience (kṣānti), (4) vigor (vīrya), (5) concentration (dhyāna), (6) wisdom (prajñā), (7) skill-in-means (upāya-kauśalya), (8) resolution (praṇidhāna), (9) strength (bala), and (10) knowledge (jñāna).
Dennis Barbion (Karma Dondub) is a human rights activist, practicing Buddhist and a writer based in Belgium. He is engaged in several philanthropic activities to contribute to the acts of compassion globally. He has also been the President of Tibetaanse-Vlaamse Vriendenkring (Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends) and has significantly organised activities for the empowerment and development of refugee communities in South Asia. To contact Karma Dondub Dennis Barbion:Email: email@example.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/dennis.barbion Twitter:https://twitter.com/dbtibet Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DennisBarbionKarmaDondub
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