Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Samyak Festival of Patan, Lalitpur

Once in five year grand divine festival - "Samyak" is taking place in historic city of Patan, Lalitpur Nepal this weekend. Preparation and preliminary phases of the festival is already underway. The grand finale will take place on the evening of February 24th, Friday and the next day (Saturday). Some one hundred plus bigger-than-life-size statues of Dipankaras and other Buddhist gods and goddesses will gather at the historical place of Nagabahal in Patan. detailed schedule of the event (in Nepali)

About the Samyak Festival
Of all the Buddhist festivals of the Kathmandu Valley, the Samyak or Dipankara festival seems to be unique in many ways. A special highlight of this festival is the display of many large images of Dipankara in the courtyard of Nagbahal.

The word ‘Samyak’ implies the oneness of all sentient beings. In Buddhist literature, we find three forms of enlightenment, namely Enlightenment of Hearers (sravaka-bodhi), Enlightenment of Solitary Realizers (pratyeka-bodhi) and Perfect Unsurpassable Enlightenment (samyak-sambodhi). In this context, Samyak stands for ‘Perfect’ and Sambodhi for ‘Enlightenment’. The Samyak festival thus denotes those practices which lead to Perfect Enlightenment, namely, the path of the Bodhisattvas that will bring samyak-sambodhi.

The essence of this festival is the practice of Giving, or dana-paramita – specifically, to monks (Sakyas and Vajracaryas in the Newar Buddhist tradition) and to Buddhas, especially to Dipankara Buddha, who predicted Lord Sakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment in a previous lifetime. At this time, Newar Buddhists also honor and venerate the Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara, Arya Tara, and so on. Sakyas and Vajracaryas are said to be householder Bodhisattva monks. It is on this occasion that they receive alms and dana from lay upasakas and upasikas. Often, those who give dana or make offerings are referred to simply as bhaktajana, or devotees.

Click here to read more about Samyak by Min Bahadur Shakya (scholar of Newar and Tibetan Buddhism) at NIEM

Where is the event taking place

View Itilahne Samyak in larger map

A glimpse of previous Itilahne Samyak, 2008

Kwabha Aaju on its way to Nagabahal after welcoming all Dipankaras and gods and goddesses.

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