Category: Buddhist holidays
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Buddhism in Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Bhutan, Kalmykia, Buryatia and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, and India (particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Dharamsala, Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim). It is the state religion of Bhutan. It is also practiced in Mongolia and parts of Russia (Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Tuva) and Northeast China. Religious texts and commentaries are contained in the Tibetan Buddhist canon such that Tibetan is a spiritual language of these areas. Tibetan Buddhism preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth century India. Tibetan Buddhism aspires to Buddhahood or rainbow body.
The Tibetan diaspora has spread Tibetan Buddhism to many Western countries, where the tradition has gained popularity. Among its prominent exponents is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The number of its adherents is estimated to be between ten and twenty million.
Tibetan Buddhism comprises the teachings of the three vehicles of Buddhism: the Foundational Vehicle, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna. The Mahāyāna goal of spiritual development is to achieve the enlightenment of buddhahood in order to most efficiently help all other sentient beings attain this state. The motivation in it is the bodhicitta mind of enlightenment — an altruistic intention to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are revered beings who have conceived the will and vow to dedicate their lives with bodhicitta for the sake of all beings. Tibetan Buddhism teaches methods for achieving buddhahood more quickly by including the Vajrayāna path in Mahāyāna.
Buddhahood is defined as a state free of the obstructions to liberation as well as those to omniscience. When one is freed from all mental obscurations, one is said to attain a state of continuous bliss mixed with a simultaneous cognition of emptiness, the true nature of reality. In this state, all limitations on one's ability to help other living beings are removed.
It is said that there are countless beings who have attained buddhahood. Buddhas spontaneously, naturally and continuously perform activities to benefit all sentient beings. However it is believed that one's karma could limit the ability of the Buddhas to help them. Thus, although Buddhas possess no limitation from their side on their ability to help others, sentient beings continue to experience suffering as a result of the limitations of their own former negative actions.
Chötrul Düchen, also known as Chonga Choepa or the Butter Lamp Festival, is one of the four Buddhist festivals commemorating four events in the life of the Buddha, according to Tibetan traditions. Chötrul Düchen closely follows Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It takes place on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Tibetan calendar during the full moon, which is called Bumgyur Dawa. The first fifteen days of the year celebrate the fifteen days during which the historical Buddha displayed miracles for his disciples so as to increase their devotion.
Chotrul Duchen, meaning "Great Day of Miraculous Manifestations", is one of the four great holy days observed by Tibetan Buddhists, always occurring on the Fifteenth day of the first lunar Month in the Tibetan calendar. During this time, it is believed that the effects of both positive and negative actions are multiplied ten million times.
To commemorate the occasion, Tibetans make lamps, traditionally of yak butter, called butter lamps, in the shapes of flowers, trees, birds, and other auspicious symbols. They also create elaborate displays for the lamps in their homes and in public spaces, sometimes erecting structures as large as a building. All the lanterns are lit in celebration on the fifteenth day of the month.
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