Drukpa Tsheshi, observed on July 21 this year, commemorates the auspicious day when Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon after his enlightenment. It falls on the fourth day of the sixth lunar year according to the Tibetan calendar. In Buddhism, the sermon is also known as The Setting of the Wheel of Dharma in Motion. Buddha spelled out the Four Noble Truths that he learned through his enlightenment This was so that his disciples and followers too can take the path to salvation. Buddhists in Bhutan, Tibet, and Sikkim observe this day by chanting prayers and holding a yak race.
History of Drukpa Tsheshi
Buddha gave his first sermon at a deer forest in Sarnath, a village near the holy city of Banaras. This was more than 2,500 years ago! It is believed that he presented and explained the Four Noble Truths to his followers on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month. These truths explain suffering. In simple words, life begins with suffering. Then you find the cause of this suffering followed by the realization that it can end. Finally, you embark on the path that leads to the end of your suffering. When you reach the end of the path, you get enlightened.
This day is mainly observed by the Bhutanese and the people of Sikkim in India. People don traditional attires and attend prayers in monasteries to commemorate this sacred event. Devotees and pilgrims from around the world flock to Sikkim and Bhutan to attend the grand celebrations. Don’t be surprised if you find monks, tourists, and locals meditating in monasteries. Meditation is a way of life for Buddhists, and they believe that it eventually leads one toward salvation.
Besides religious ceremonies, the locals also host a cultural feast. It comprises traditional yak races and a buffet of delectable Sikkimese delicacies for visitors. Muguthang in North Sikkim and the deer park in Gangtok are two of the major hosts of Drukpa Tsheshi in India. In Bhutan, the festival is celebrated in every part of the country with much pomp and fervor.
Drukpa Tsheshi timeline
Indian Emperor Asoka converts to and establishes Buddhism on a national level for the first time.
The Buddhist Canon, as we know it today, is codified in Bihar, India.
Gyalwa Gendun Drubpa becomes the first Dalai Lama of Tibet.
The Pali canon is revised and engraved on 729 marble stones under the patronage of King Mindon of Burma.
Buddhists celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Buddha’s enlightenment (Mahaparinirvana).
Drukpa Tsheshi FAQs
Is Drukpa Tsheshi celebrated internationally?
Drukpa Tsheshi is an important festival in Bhutan and Tibet. But it is also celebrated with much fervor in Sikkim, a tiny state in Northeast India.
Is Drukpa Tsheshi a public holiday?
Yes, it’s a non-working holiday in Bhutan and Sikkim. Most offices, schools, and businesses remain closed on this day.
Do Christians and Hindus celebrate Drukpa Tsheshi?
No, Drukpa Tsheshi is primarily a festival for Buddhists. It is observed by performing ceremonial rites and conducting traditional yak races.
Where did Buddha deliver his first sermon?
Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath, a place near the holy city of Varanasi in India.
Drukpa Tsheshi Activities
Join in the fun with friends
If you have Buddhist friends, join them in celebrating this festive day. Observe their rituals, and eat scrumptious dumplings. Their lifestyle may teach you life truths.
Visit the happiest country in the world
You may consider taking a trip to Bhutan to witness this auspicious celebration. Soak in the serenity of the mountains while you listen to the sacred chanting in a monastery. The ceremonial rites are quite fascinating.
Read about Buddhism
The occasion centers around Buddha’s sermons. Take some time out to know more about his teachings and life. Study why he is revered.
5 Interesting Facts About Buddhism
There’s no god
In Buddhism, any person who attains ‘moksha’ or enlightenment is equivalent to a god.
The first Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, was born in India in 567 B.C.
The famous Laughing Buddha was actually a real Chinese monk named Ch’i-Tzu.
China tops everyone
China houses 50% of the world’s Buddhist population.
Buddhists refrain from killing animals and are vegetarians.
Why We Love Drukpa Tsheshi
It is spiritual
Drukpa Tseshi isn’t just about the sacred ceremonies and festivities. It introduces us to the Buddhist way of life and culture.
A day to reflect on life
Meditation is a crucial practice followed by Buddhists. This can help us consciously reflect on life, which can help us learn from our mistakes and gain perspective.
It celebrates the teachings of the Buddha
This day commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon to his disciples. The Buddhists believe that one can attain salvation by following these teachings.
Drukpa Tsheshi dates