We’ve just entered the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, or Saga Dawa, also known as “merit month”. Are you in the mood to do some good? Tibetans say that there’s no better moment than right now.
Saga Dawa is considered to be the most auspicious time of the year, as it’s the month in which the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and achieved nirvana. Buddhists believe that any acts of kindness or prayers said during this period are multiplied thousand-fold.
What good deeds are going to count? Giving things away is the most obvious – there are so many people out there who need what we have more than we do. Sounds easy enough, but in practice this can be quite hard.
We’re not talking about gifting things you no longer need here – that’s not philanthropy. Buddhists say that when you are practicing true generosity you should feel a little pinch – that’s your stinginess protesting.
Which is just as well since I’m embarrassed to admit that a feeling of loss is still the first emotion that I experience each time Yeshi comes up with a new cause to support (this month: the rebuilding of a toilet block at his family’s monastery in India). I don’t think of myself as someone with a particular attachment to money, but giving it away is something that I’ve been doing much more of since I met Yeshi, and full enjoyment of this is still a process for me.
As with all things, regular practice is a great help. Nothing lasts forever, after all, so isn’t clinging to what we think we have just an addiction to a false comfort? Giving what we can as often as we can helps to free us from greed and delusion, at least two of what Buddhists call the “three poisons“.
Here’s an easier option, maybe. During Saga Dawa, Tibetans also refrain from killing or consuming animals. A popular activity is purchasing livestock that is facing imminent slaughter and releasing it into its natural habitat. Worms, insects, and especially fish benefit from these acts of kindness as well.
As for consuming meat, this is always a subject of debate inside Tibet (read more in our cookbook), but during Saga Dawa many people give it up completely. At Taste Tibet, we know that taking our chicken curry off the menu would cause a riot, so we’re not going veggie for the month. However! We’re bringing back a seasonal favourite – Chilled Sesame Noodles – during Saga Dawa, a vegan treat for warm weather. Check out our full menu for this week. We’re open all the usual hours, as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Looking forward to welcoming you in!
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318