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Why People Give Alms during Saga Dawa Festival

Doing good deeds is one of the characteristics of Saga Dawa Festival. You can see the prostrating pilgrims everywhere along the street in Lhasa. The grand festival bring huge numbers of pilgrims to do the circuit around Barkhor Street and Lingkor Road. Meanwhile, the circuit trek around the sacred Mt. Kailash is a spiritual journey in this important festival.

Pilgrims do the circuit trek around Mt. Kailash
Pilgrims do the circuit trek around Mt. Kailash

It is very touching to see the Tibetans walking with prayer wheels in hands or prostrating themselves around the Jokhang Temple or the old town of Lhasa. You could also let yourself be dragged along by the centrifugal tide of pilgrims and immerse yourself into the thick religious atmosphere and local culture.

Some of pilgrims maybe wish to accumulate virtue, but most of them hope to fulfill a certain wish in their hearts.

April 15th of the Tibetan calendar is the climax of doing good deeds. The alms giving starts from early morning. On this day, the local people meet whether the monks or beggars, they will be very willing to give alms. Many poor people will certainly not easily let go of the good chance. Therefore, Saga Dawa Festival has another name: Poor People's Day.  

Tibetan Pilgrims
Tibetan Pilgrims

Wealth giving is giving out your money to the poor or people in need. If you give out wealth, you will gain wealth; if you propagate the Buddha dharma, you will gain wisdom. It is called fearless giving if you use your own wealth and words of wisdom to soothe the hearts of others in times of distress and hardship, so as to make people physically and mentally stable and free from fear. And you could gain health and long life for fearless giving. 

Generally speaking, Tibetans are fond of eating meat. Of course, this is owing to Tibet's unique and abound in gifts of nature for livestock husbandry conditions and the natural environment which is not conducive to vegetable growth. 

But even the meat lover Tibetans will eat vegetarian food on the 8th and 15th of April. And they are not allowed to do anything evil since the Tibetans believe that if they do evil things during this period, the bad karma will be more serious. Buddhism believes that life is simply "cause and effect".

Fate is determined by karma, and karma is the life information stored in Alaya's consciousness from beginning to end. It is determined by our actions. Our past behavior leads to the life state of this-worldly life, and the present behavior determines the future direction of life. 

Fate is not absolute. On one hand, it is based on cause and effect. On the other hand, the process of sensation depends on the promotion of predestination. Devotion Buddhism is actually trusting in cause, condition and effect. We can change our destiny by improving the condition. And doing good deeds is one of the ways.

Tibetan Pilgrims
Tibetan Pilgrims

Many people believe that the benefit of others must be based on the loss of personal interests. Buddhism, however, holds that any action that is beneficial to others is bound to be beneficial to oneself. 

Of course, it may take some temporary efforts, but this good deed will bring thousands of times returns to future life. Like a seed sown, it will bear fruitful results. The result may be in this life, or in the next life or even after, when the cause matures, it will be rewarded.

Maybe some people don't believe in reincarnation, afterlife, or third-generation causality. Therefore, from the current causal point of view, it is relatively easy to accept.  

Good deeds nourish the seeds of goodness in our hearts, so when we give, we will benefit our hearts. This is a very important interpretation of karma in Buddhism. 

In fact, when we do good deeds, we need not pay attention to external retribution. It is only a by-product of doing good. The real benefit lies in the improvement of our own personality and the improvement of our quality of life, and this result is synchronized with doing good and can be felt at present.  
 

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