History, significance of this festival in Sikkim, and teachings of Lord Buddha

Drukpa Tshe-zi is an auspicious occasion for all Buddhists around the world. Being one of the most important Buddhist events, the government of Sikkim celebrates the day by observing a bank holiday. Drukpa Tshe-zi falls on the fourth day, called Tshe-zi, of the sixth month, called Drukpa, of the Tibetan lunar calendar and hence the name, Drukpa Tshe-zi.

The occasion is significant for Buddhists as it is the day when Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon on the Four Noble Truths at the Deer Park in Sarnath, about 2,500 years ago. After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha preached to his first five disciples – Anjanata Kaudinya, Ashwajit, Waspa, Pradraika and Mahanama.

As the story goes, the Buddha, after enlightenment, set out to teach for the first time. A thousand thrones appeared before him. After circumambulating the first three thrones, Lord Buddha sat on the fourth throne in cross-legged posture. Thousands of devotees appeared where Buddha sat to listen to his preaching.

On the morning of Drukpa Tshe-zi, the Buddha did not speak at all. He remained silent which gave the devotees time to clear their minds. During the afternoon the Buddha spoke and discussed various topics. This is when he spoke of the Four Noble Truths, which contain the essence of the Buddha’s teachings.

  1. First was the truth about the cause of suffering known as suffering.
  2. The second was Truth Of The Origin Of Suffering called Samudaya.
  3. Then came the third truth which was the truth of cessation of suffering called Nirudha.
  4. And the fourth truth was Truth Of The Path which ended the suffering called Marga. This led to Marga Nirvana. The Four Truths indicate the journey that humans go through before reaching Nirvana, which is a combination of inner peace, joy and compassion.

To celebrate this day, the Sikkim government declared it as a bank holiday in the state. On this day, prayers and religious ceremonies are held in monasteries across the state. Devotees and pilgrims pray to Lord Buddha and light butter lamps for the welfare of sentient beings.

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