June 6, 2017

Enhance Positive Karma & Eliminate Negative Karma on June’s Full Moon.

Buddhists commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s conception, enlightenment, and death (passing into parinirvana) at different times throughout the year.

In Tibetan Buddhism, these auspicious events are collectively known as Saka Dawa and this celebration lasts for 30 days. The Tibetan lunar months begin and end with a new moon, and in 2017 the Saka Dawa period began on May 26th and ends on June 24th.

The most significant and sacred date during Saka Dawa is the full moon day on June 9th, which falls on the 15th day, half way through the Tibetan lunar month.

This day is known as Saga Dawa Duchen, meaning “great occasion” and is the most holy day of Tibetan Buddhism.

Saka Dawa is known as the “month of merits” as Buddhists believe that actions carried out during this time generate powerful karmic repercussions that can be magnified more than a hundred million times, as cited by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Treasure of Quotations and Logic.

Saka Dawa is a particularly good time to dedicate ourselves to spiritually positive thoughts and actions, which include being mindful during our interactions, avoiding people who harm us or others, embracing those that support and help others, and practicing gratitude and generosity.

During Saka Dawa, it is common for Buddhists to practice the eight mahayana precepts for 24 hours, particularly on the full moon or new moon—the 15th day or 30th day. The full moon is considered to be the most powerful time for accumulating positive merit and clearing negative karma.

The eight precepts are:

  1. Avoid killing, either directly or indirectly.
  2. Avoid stealing and taking things without the owner’s permission.
  3. Avoid all sexual contact.
  4. Avoid lying and deceiving others.
  5. Avoid intoxicants, i.e., alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs. (Prescription drugs are permitted.)
  6. Avoid eating after lunch.
  7. Avoid sitting on a high, soft, expensive bed or chair with pride and avoid sitting on animal skins.
  8. Avoid wearing adornments, such as jewelry, garlands, perfume, and makeup (malas are permitted) and also avoid singing and dancing.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that observing precepts offers tremendous benefits, and allows one to accumulate a tremendous amount of positive potential (merit) in a short period of time.

The merits that can be obtained include:

Eventually attaining enlightenment.
Protection from harm.
A peaceful and prosperous household.
Gaining control of bad habits.
A harmonious, calm, and peaceful mindset.
Getting along better with others.

It is also thought that in the future, we could be reborn as a disciple of Maitreya Buddha (the universal Buddha of a future era) and learn Buddha’s teachings.

The precepts will be ineffective if they are done with an improper attitude, such as looking for praise or feeling angry or resentful. Also, if an object is stolen, if a living creature is killed, or we ask someone else to kill, steal, or lie, we will not gain merit.

According to Buddhists, practicing these precepts and remaining consciously aware and mindful in our daily interactions allows us to enhance positive karma, neutralize negative karma, achieve greater insight, recognize unity, and to have compassion for all sentient beings.

While Buddhists observe a vegan diet during Saka Dawa, many also rescue animals from slaughter, or suffering, and then release them back into their natural habitat.

Making a pilgrimage to a lake, mountainside, or cave is also seen as a meritorious act, so for those who practice meditation, this full moon is the optimum time to head outdoors and hike to a sacred, or historical site.

Generosity is also believed to be a way of magnifying merit, therefore many Buddhists make particular effort at this time to volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to those in poverty, and most importantly to give freely, without attachments or expectations, to those in need.

Reciting Om Mani Padme Hum from the heart is a powerful energy cleanser and is intensified with intentional thoughts that focus on the collective positive energy that is being radiated during this time. The purpose of this is for worldwide joy and peace through the elimination of suffering, violence, and oppression.

Try not to be concerned if you find it difficult to follow the eight mahayana precepts, as it is believed the harder you try and the more often you practice them, the greater amount of karma will be gained and cleared.

It is hoped that if these precepts can be held for 24 hours, they can be continued regularly throughout the year. The Buddha taught that suffering comes from previous negative karma, therefore practices to purify karma alleviates, and can even entirely eliminate, suffering.

Bonus: {start at 12 minutes in}, views of the Strawberry Mini Moon:




Author: Alex Myles
Image: Flickr/Riccardo Alescio
Editor: Travis May

Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Alex Myles  |  Contribution: 68,980