Practices for the Four Special Days

Practices for the Four Special Days

Date of Advice:
November 2019
Date Posted:
February 2024

Rinpoche advised these practices for students on the four holy days of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, and on solar and lunar eclipse days.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Rinchen Jangsem Ling, Triang, Malaysia, April 2016. Photo: Bill Kane.

What are the Buddha’s special days? They are the Fifteen Days of Miracles at Losar, Saka Dawa, Chokhor Duchen, Lhabab Duchen and also the solar eclipses. Once the special day starts, the merit is multiplied one hundred million times.

So what can you do on these days?

  • You can rejoice in your, other sentient beings’ and the buddhas’ three times’ merits.
  • You can read the Vajra Cutter Sutra, Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri and the King of Prayers.
  • You can meditate on emptiness and especially meditate on bodhicitta with whichever technique you choose.
  • You can do Lama Chöpa and either at the beginning or during the lamrim section, you can meditate on emptiness.
  • Whatever activity they are doing at your local center, you can join them.
  • Of course, you can do self-initiation—that is the best one.
  • You can do prostrations by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas prayer.
  • You can make more offerings or help sentient beings more. Liberate animals, or, with bodhicitta, practice charity to people or animals—do whatever you can.
  • Recite OM MANI PADME HUM with bodhicitta.
  • Of course, don’t forget that the best practice is bodhicitta, tonglen.

Keep this advice, especially in order to educate others and to help the numberless sentient beings.

It is so important also to understand that if we collect nonvirtue on the special merit multiplying days, that will also increase by that many number of times. We have to be careful to not increase nonvirtuous actions on the special days, as well as during solar eclipses.

When there is a lunar eclipse, the merit is only increased by seven hundred thousand times.

The longest period of time where merit is multiplied so much is during the Fifteen Days of Miracles (the first fifteen days of Losar, Tibetan New Year). To know this is unbelievable. During all those days we can create so much merit.

Please help by letting sentient beings know, so that they can achieve full enlightenment soon.

I received the information from His Holiness Chogye Trichen Rinpoche that on the Buddha's special days, the merit is multiplied one hundred million times. This comes from the Vinaya teaching, dulwa lung [Wyl: ‘dul ba lung]. Often Tibetan calendars say that the merit is only increased one hundred thousand times, but that is not right. It is one hundred million times.

[Find links to these practices in the FPMT Catalogue.]