The first day of the first lunar month is the royal Tibetan New Year’s Day. In 2022, this date coincides with March 3rd. This is an auspicious day to arise early, put on new clothes, place new offerings on the shrine, visit temples and holy places, and to make offerings and pay respect to one’s spiritual master. It is a day for making aspirations and strengthening positive qualities. This year, due to the passing of Shensé Norbu Wangyal Rinpoche, the Yungdrung Bön community will observe but not celebrate the New Year. Rather, more time will be spent with spiritual practice and recitations.
New Year’s day begins with the ritual of fumigation and offering through smoke known as the sang, sang sol, or lha sang. This practice removes defilements and obstacles, delights the enlightened ones, and satisfies the worldly spirits. In this way, a foundation for harmony, positive conditions, and prosperity is created. For more information about this important ancient ritual within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, see previous post: https://wordpress.com/post/ravencypresswood.com/7924
“Having engaged in this sacred activity and prayer,
for us practitioners as well as our friends and companions,
please pacify obstacles related to our present circumstances and act to bring about supportive and harmonious conditions!
Support the success of our goals and intentions!
Eliminate harm and obstacles from bitter enemies!
Support the spread of the buddhas’ teachings!
Act on behalf of the happiness and perfect satisfaction of every sentient being!”
— From Sacred Smoke: The Ritual Practice of Fumigation and Offering in the Yungdrung Bön Religious Tradition by Raven Cypress Wood
Traditionally on the 2nd and 3rd days of the New Year, it is traditional to not work and instead to spend the days visiting friends, sharing food, and being joyful together. The 4th and 5th days are the celebration of the birth of His Holiness Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoche who is know as the second buddha. At this time in the monasteries, the main prayer flag for the year is raised and there is a return to strict monastic discipline after the relaxed celebratory atmosphere of the previous few days.