Celebrate Buddha’s First Teaching – Chokhor Duchen with Geshe Sonam

Celebrate Buddha’s First Teaching – Chokhor Duchen with Geshe Sonam

Zoom Meeting Registration

time 7:30 AM


When: Wednesday, July 10th7:30 – 8:30 am EDT (*Note early morning timing). Online only.

This day celebrates Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of Dharma (Tib. Chokhor Duchen). When the Buddha achieved full awakening he did not teach others at first.  After seven weeks the gods Indra and Brahma offered a dharmachakra and a conch shell to the Buddha and requested and encouraged the Awakened One to teach to others what he had accomplished. Buddha Shakyamuni then turned the Wheel of Dharma at Sarnath with the teaching of the Four Noble Truths.

Chokhor Duchen is one of the four great holy days of the Tibetan calendar, each of which celebrates an anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha’s display of extraordinary powerful deeds for sentient beings’ sake. On these four days, karmic results are multiplied by 100 million, as taught in the vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic.

The program for this session with Geshe Sonam will include:

Please register to attend on Zoom.

or watch the sessions live-streamed on YouTube or Facebook. 

Chanting The Names of Noble Manjushri

Following the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the swift return of Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, we will also be holding a group recitation of this text also on the auspicious day of Chokhor Duchen, an especially meritorious day. Please find more information about this here. 

Eight Mahayana Precepts – Take on your own if you wish

The practice of the Mahāyāna precepts is a wonderful opportunity to accumulate merit on Saga Dawa. The practice involves keeping precepts of pure conduct and fasting after the noontime meal for a period of 24 hours. You can learn more and take the precepts using the recording from Lama Zopa Rinpoche if you have not already received the transmission, or would like to do so again. You can also find the texts used to take the precepts at the bottom of this page. The precepts are to be taken just before sunrise in your location.

Chokhor Duchen also commemorates FPMT’s International Sangha Day!

Here is how you can celebrate the Sangha Jewel:

Ceremony to Generating Aspiring Bodhicitta and Receive the Engaging Bodhisattva Vows

Geshe Sonam will perform a ceremony to confer the aspiring and engaging commitments of bodhicitta. A bodhisattva is someone who, whether on an aspiring or on an engaging level, commits to working to achieve enlightenment in order to be able to lead all beings to enlightenment. Committing to the Bodhisattva Vows helps by guiding us to understand which actions should be practiced and which should be avoided in order to be of the greatest benefit to others, develop compassion, and overcome selfish ways of being.

Taking the vows to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, is one of the foremost milestones in the life of a Mahāyāna Buddhist. Geshe la will give this ceremony in two parts, suitable for two levels of commitment.

The late Lama Thubten Yeshe explained the two types of commitment in this way:

“At the outset I mentioned two ways of taking the bodhisattva vows. The first is the wishful (aspiring) way, wanting to develop the mind that wishes to help other sentient beings as much as possible, realizing that to help others in the best way you have to develop toward liberation as quickly as possible, and trying to maintain that motivation continuously in this, the next and all future lives.

If you take the vows the second (engaging) way, you think, “I shall keep the root and branch vows and actualize the six perfections as much as I possibly can from now on, not only until my death, but forever.” This is the sort of strong determination that you make.”


Teaching by Lama Yeshe: The Bodhisattva Vows

Which Vows Are Which? A Beginner’s Guide – Mandala Publications (fpmt.org)

You can learn also more about the Bodhisattva Vows here.