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Chokhor Düchen 2020
Chokhor Düchen, First Turning of the Dharma Wheel.
Celebrate Chökhor Düchen: July 24, 2020
Chokhor Düchen is one of the most important “great occasion(s)” (Chokhor- Dharma chakra, düchen-great occasion) of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar as it marks historic Buddha Shakyamuni’s first sermon (turning of the Dharma wheel.) The first turning is said to have taken place at Deer Park in Sarnath near Varanasi (located in northern India). This important day falls on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month in the Tibetan calendar, which is Friday, July 24th this year.
It is the Four Noble Truths taught at that first turning of the Dharma Wheel that has paved the way to cessation (Nirvana) for countless followers over the past 2600 years. Tibetan Buddhists celebrate Chokhor Düchen, by reading Sutras, meditating, visiting temples and monasteries, making offerings, taking pilgrimages to holy places and hanging prayer flags.
Chökhor Düchen: A Wonderful Opportunity to Multiply Merit
It is believed that positive merits done on the anniversary of this sacred day are multiplied 100 thousend times over. As Buddhists we should all take advantage of this auspicious time to practice well! You can join together with your sangha family, support the good work of our Institute practicing compassion and generosity–the first of the six paramitas of the Bodhisattva’s practice for all sentient beings; especially the most suffering ones. We can then take whatever virtuous merits accumulated on this day and dedicate them towards Buddhahood for all sentient beings.
Chökhor Düchen: Reflect on the Teacher and the Teachings
Reading, reflecting and putting the teachings into practice with deep gratitude is a wonderful way to celebrate this “great occasion.” Begin with paying homage to the Three Jewels; the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Deepen your understanding of the profundity of the Four Noble Truths as well as the Eightfold Noble Path.
Four Noble Truths
In the Four Noble Truths, Buddha talked about the importance of understanding the suffering, the causes of suffering, the possibility of liberation from the suffering (Nirvana) and the path to achieve that: the practice of Dharma. Suffering comes about from causes and conditions that we have accumulated in the past due to our attachment and with that attachment we develop dissatisfaction and aversion and both attachment and aversion stem from ignorance as ignorance blinds us from seeing the truth.
The term Dharma is translated in Tibetan as “Cho,” Cho meaning transformation or change, changing ourselves from negative into positive. Changing our ignorance into insight and wisdom, that brings us to cessation. However, in the Mahayana tradition, our ultimate goal is to achieve Buddhahood, the fully enlightened state. This way we can help infinite sentient beings. When you genuinely think about the wellbeing of all sentient beings, selfish-concern and its anxiety disappears.
Eightfold Noble Path
The Noble Eightfold Path consists of; right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. “Right” here means righteousness, virtue, the extraordinary eightfold path. The “Eightfold Righteous Path” would be the correct translation. Righteousness meaning the quality of being morally right or justifiable.