Dawa Tangpo: A month to repent sins and purify hearts

STANZIN PALKIT
LEH, FEB 25: Dawa Tangpo, the first month of the Tibetan calendar is considered as holy month of Buddhist followers. Dawa means month and Tangpo means first. During the Dawa Tangpo, which commenced on February 16 and will end on March 17, people of Ladakh usually repent for their sins and try to purify their hearts. People remain engaged in Nyunes Nyungnes during this month of Tibetan calendar.
People pray with sincerity and devotion and keep participating in Nyanes and Nyungnes for 2 to16 days. Sixteen days of Nyanes Nyungnes popularly known as Karpo Chargyat is being usually held at Skara, Leh since 2004. During this month, people abjure taking non-vegetarian food, alcohol and other sinful actions.
Many people are involved in practising Nyanes and Nyungnes. By practice of Nyungnes, people can purify lots of negative actions. They are meditating Avalokiteshvara, which is famous for ‘Thousand Eyes and Thousand Arms’ – thousand arms represent Buddha’s compassion in actions while thousand eyes represent a thousand Buddhas. Avalokiteshvara manifests into many different forms.
Various organisations and volunteers organise such prayers during Tangpo (The Buddhist Holy Month) during which braving the prevailing harsh weather conditions people participate in large numbers with utmost devotion and faith. Similarly, Skara Tsogs-pa in Leh, annually organises Nyanes & Nyungnes prayers for Devotees belonging to various parts of Ladakh.
Sharing her experience with Greater Jammu, 78-years old Tsering Dolkar informed, “Since 2004 during the teachings of Skarma I have been participating in the auspicious month of Tangpo. According to Buddhism this month is auspicious and no one in family used to cook non-veg in their home. People mostly observe Fasting & Silence prayer (Nyanes & Nyungnes).”
Nyungne is said to be effective in the healing of illness, nurturing of compassion, and purification of negative actions. Doing even one Nyung-Ne or ‘abiding in retreat’ for just two days is said to be as effective as three months of other purification practices.
Vice president, Sonam Paljor, Skara Nyanes Tsogspa said, “Annually the similar prayer is organised by our Tsogspa for the welfare of common people to make them aware about Buddhist philosophy. This prayer is being observed since 2004 under the guidance of Skarma and after 2014 it was observed under Khamtak Rinpochey. More than 300 devotees participated on the occasion of Dawa Tangpo. More youth are participating in this prayer which is a good sign in terms of Buddhism. Our organisation always tries to organise the programme for devotees at on larger scale.”
Lobzang Gonbo from Stok also explained about Nyanes Nyunnes. It is started at the time of Gelong Ma Palmo and continued till date. He explained about the term ‘Nyanes’ and Nyunnes. Nyanes means that devotees only allowed to have lunch within 24 hours (also called Kongtsik). The term Nyungnes means Nyung (lus, eid and nyak) ‘Lus nyung wa naspa’ means one has to abjure meal for 24 hours and very next day one is allowed to have only lunch and so on. ‘Eid nyung wa naspa’ means not to think negative and the last one is ‘nyak nyung wa naspa’ which means not do unnecessary talks. It is done to free people from all sins not only in this life but is also beneficial for many births according to Buddhism. Large number of people from all parts of Leh are participating in Nyanes Nyungnes, he informed.