Ligmincha International Prepares for Losar, Year of the Fire Bird

prayer flagsLosar, which in Tibetan means “new year,” is celebrated widely by Tibetans and Tibetan Bön and Buddhist centers throughout the world. This time to reflect on the passing of the old year and face the possibilities of the new year will be celebrated by Ligmincha International centers worldwide.

Traditionally, the first day of Losar begins three days of celebration. Preparation for the new year, the Year of the Fire Bird, will be on the next-to-last day of the current year (day of Gu Tor) on February 25.

Monday, February 27, 2017, is the first day of the New Year, the Year of the Fire Bird. Check Ligmincha Facebook pages on that date for Losar greetings from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha resident lamas.

Celebrations will include a live webcast on March 4, during the weekend after Losar, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern (New York) time. Also on March 4 we will celebrate the birthdays of Nyame Sherap Gyaltsen, abbot of the first Bön monastery in Tibet, and Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche, founder of the Bön tradition.

For those who live near a gompa (meditation hall), the first day of Losar is when families go to the gompa to pay their respects to the lama, circumambulate the temple, offer prayer flags to the monastery, raise prayer flags at one’s home and spend time with family. Often Tibetans will bring offerings to the gompa, such as flowers or butter lamps or cookies for tea with the lama, and receive blessings that all activities of the coming year will be successful.

Below is a suggested schedule for Ligmincha centers throughout the world with a resident lama, for other Ligmincha centers or practice groups, and for individual practitioners.

Suggested schedule for Ligmincha centers with a resident lama 

Serenity Ridge (Geshe Tenzin Yangton),Ligmincha Texas (Geshe Denma Gyaltsen), Ligmincha France (Geshe Lhundup Gyaltsen), Ligmincha Mexico (Lama Kalsang Nyima and Lama Yungdrung Lodoe), Chamma Ling Poland (Geshe Yungdrung Gyatso), and Lishu Institute  (Geshe Thupten Negi)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

  • Sangha gets together to clean the gompa, make any needed repairs and also to make kapse (special Tibetan cookies for Losar) if they wish. Complete any projects that have begun during the year so that everything is fresh and ready for the New Year with new energy.

Monday, February 27, 2017 (Losar):

  • 9–10 a.m.: Lama’s choice what to do; possibly sang chod (fire ritual).

Saturday, March 4, 2017:

  • 9–10 a.m.: Sang Chod (fire ritual) and replace main prayer flag(s) with new flags(s).
  • 10–10:30 a.m.: Break for tea and dresil (Tibetan sweet rice)
  • 10:30–11:45 am: Watch live webcast message from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha resident lamas worldwide; includes recitation of the Three Heart Mantras. 
  • Following webcast: Each person offers a tea light in gompa; followed by recitation of Nyame Sol Dep, in honor of Nyame Sherap Gyaltsen’s anniversary birthday offering on the fifth day day of Tibetan New Year (February 24).
  • Note: Place Nyame Sherap Gyaltsen statue or image on table near shrine to offer khata to image of Nyame Sherap Gyaltsen.
  • Do khora (circumambulation) around gompa or stupa while reciting Ma Tri mantra.
  • Followed by tea or potluck lunch or dinner (depending on time zone).

Suggested schedule for all other Ligmincha centers or practice groups

Saturday, February 25, 2017:

  • Same as above.

Monday, February 27, 2017

  • Optional Sang Chod.

Saturday, March 4, 2017:

  • Same as above, led by umdze.

Suggested schedule for individual sangha members who are unable to travel to a center or practice group

Saturday, February 25, 2017

  • Clean home, office, shrine and make any needed repairs. Complete any projects that have begun during the year so that everything is fresh and ready for the new year with new energy.

Monday, February 27, 2017:

  • Morning practice of sang chod if you have received this teaching or any practice that you have received

Saturday, March 4, 2017 (Eastern/New York time):

  • Open shrine, offering water, candle, incense, flowers, tea and wine, cookies.
  • With whatever prayers or practices you have learned, reflect on the upcoming year with positive energy for success for all that happens. You may practice Guru Yoga and a practice such as recitation of Three Heart Mantras, focusing their energy on the new year, with the support of the images of the deities and/or masters, to deepen your spiritual practice.
  • Optional: Raise prayer flags.
  • 10:30 a.m. (NY time): Watch live webcast message from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha resident lamas worldwide.