Universal Prayer Day

Universal Prayer Day (Dzam Ling Chi Sang)

Usually June or July; 14th to 16th days of fifth Tibetan lunar month
Universal Prayer Day is a Tibetan Buddhist festival and a time for spiritual cleansing. During this time, people hang prayer flags on tree tops, burn juniper twigs, and build bonfires to worship the Buddha and local gods. Fire in the Tibetan culture is symbolic of cleansing. Family picnics are also common during the festival.
This is also the time of the once-a-year display of the famous giant thangkas, scroll paintings, at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet. Tashilhunpo (which means "heap of glory"), the seat of the Panchen Lamas, once had more than 4,000 monks. But the monastery was disbanded by the Chinese in 1960, and only a few hundred monks remain.
At this time, three huge thangkas with images of the Buddha are displayed for three days on a nine-story wall on the monastery grounds. Thangkas, which are made in all sizes, were first known in Tibet in the 10th century, and were used in monastery schools as teaching devices. They were always consecrated before they were hung.
Panchen Lamas came into being in the 17th century when the fifth Dalai Lama gave the title panchen, meaning "great scholar," to his beloved tutor. The tutor was then found to be the reincarnation of Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light, and subsequent Panchen Lamas are new incarnations. As with Dalai Lamas, when a Panchen Lama dies, a search is conducted for an infant boy who is the new incarnation.
See also Dalai Lama, Birthday of the
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dharamsala, July 3 ( ANI ): Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, led hundreds of monks, nuns and other Tibetans-in-exile as they observed the universal prayer day here on Tuesday.
Since then, Tibetans observe this day as Universal Prayer Day.
Discussing the relevance of the occasion, Wangyal, a Buddhist monk, said, "Tibetans, to celebrate the taming of demons and the establishment of the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery, started this universal prayer day, so that's why we have gathered here."

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