Saga Dawa (sa ga zla ba), also known as Vaisakha, Buddha Jayanti or Wesak, is one of the most important dates in the Buddhist calendar. While the different Buddhist traditions and schools celebrate Saga Dawa in their own unique ways, most common practices are related to adhering to the Eight Precepts for the day, as it is believed that the merits from all virtuous deeds done on this day are multiplied enormously.
In 2016, Saga Dawa fell on May 21st, and this auspicious day was celebrated with much pomp and circumstance in many places around the world. Similarly, in the quiet and peaceful town of Sainte-Sophie in Quebec, Canada, a group of dedicated Buddhists gathered to participate in the festivities at Tsongkhapa Meditation Centre, a Tibetan Buddhist temple established by Venerable Zawa Tulku Rinpoche.
In fact, the event was doubly significant as Tsongkhapa Meditation Centre was also celebrating their 30th anniversary. The temple had been originally named Gaden Chang Chub Choling, and was initially established in Montreal by Ven. Zawa Rinpoche’s teacher, Venerable Geshe Khenrab Gajam. Almost 30 years later, Gaden Chang Chub Choling was moved to its present location and renamed Tsongkhapa Meditation Centre by Ven. Zawa Rinpoche, in memory of his Guru’s deepest wish to spread the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa in Canada.
Many notable guests were in attendance during the Saga Dawa celebrations, including Ven. Trote Rinpoche, Geshe Kelsang Ringzin and Geshe Palden from Serpom Monastery. The sangha performed a peaceful Yamantaka fire puja as well as a land blessing ceremony on the temple grounds, the first since the centre was inaugurated last year, to bless the environment and all beings that reside within the area.
As the pujas commenced, a circular rainbow formed in the sky and lasted throughout the day. In Tibetan Buddhism, this occurrence is very significant and auspicious, as it embodies peace and harmony between the environment and the beings that live in it.
Below are some beautiful pictures sent by Ven. Zawa Rinpoche. We pray that the lineage and teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa continue to grow in Montreal, Canada and that many may come to practise the Dharma to be free from samsara.
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