In this celebration of enlightenment students are invited to a small party at 7pm Thursday night the 23rd of May in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We will gather and discuss our intentions, what we hope to gain. A practice of prostrations, bowing gestures, will be held so please wear or bring loose fitting clothing. Prostrations prepare our bodies for being cleaned of negative patterns and stuck energy.
Before Dawn the morning of the 24th we will meet for Traditional Tibetan Buddhism prayers. Saka Dawa celebrates the morning after the Buddha defeated the demon Mara, a symbol of ignorance, and achieved Enlightenment. It also celebrates the Buddha’s birth AND death. After early morning prayers practitioners are invited to go back to bed.
The morning of the 24th we will hold a breakfast with traditional foods. Make offerings and take a one day fast of food and celibacy. We will hold a restorative yoga class followed by a fifteen, then thirty minute meditation.
The traditional “vows” are called the Eight Mahayana precepts. “Mahayana” is the name of the Tibetan lineage which is being celebrated, as opposed to Theravada or Zen. In the same way there’s Protestantism, but you could be Baptist or a Luthern.
Eight Mahayana Precepts:
- Do not kill, even insects.
- Do not steal. Only take what is yours and offered to you.
- Do not engage in sexual contact. The practitioner can take this further to mean no physical contact, but only if it’s right for you! *
- Do not lie.
- Do not use intoxicants; alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Do not take recreational drugs.
- Only eat as instructed.
- Do not sit on high, expensive beds with pride! Traditionally one lowers oneself to honor a higher sense of the Divine.
- Do not wear jewelry, perfume, or makeup. Do not sing, dance or play music.*
*Even though music, dance and human touch are a positive force, with its positivity comes attachment. Attachment itself can make us unhappy. Saka Dawa invites us to examine all the things we are attached to. By fasting we have a deeper understanding of how and why positive things in this world are special to us. This is what makes Saka Dawa special. Otherwise, Buddhism would never encourage you not to enjoy things which are positive and healthy to you.
For the one day fast:
All Day the 24th: No meat, eggs, onions, garlic or radishes.
After the 10:30 am breakfast: only light drinks, no diluted milk or juice with pulp
The practitioner can chose to set the fast until the strike of midnight the night of the 24th or until sunrise the morning of the 25th.