Lhabab Düchen is one of the four major festivals in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar and commemorates the descent of Śākyamuni Buddha from heaven to earth. This day is celebrated in many Buddhist Asian countries, especially Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.
According to legend, Lord Buddha ascended to Trāyastriṃśa (the heaven of the 33 gods) to repay the kindness of his mother who had died one week after giving birth to him. He wanted to liberate her from samsara and spread the teachings (including the Abhidharma) for the benefit of the deities inhabiting this heavenly realm. After 3 months, Lord Buddha’s followers on earth became worried by his long absence and his disciple Maugalyayana finally persuaded him to return to earth after considerable debate. Seven days later, Lord Buddha descended a stairway made of beryl, gold, and silver and arrived back on earth at a mountain peak known as Sankahya (found in modern day Basantpur, Uttar Pradesh, India). Much later, Emperor Ashoka built a temple at this site.
Lhabab Düchen falls on the 22nd day of the 9th month of the Tibetan calendar each year. The effects of positive and negative actions are thought to be multiplied 10 million times on this day! Therefore, it is an excellent day to perform virtuous deeds. Also, because this day is related to the Buddha’s mother, it is considered to be a special day for all mothers.
On this day at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery, the monks perform the extensive Thukdrub Gongpa Kündü Pūjā (the essential practice that includes all achievements). This is considered to be the essential root practice of all manifestations of Guru Rinpoche that combines all of the practices into a single mandala.
Also, on this day at Nagi Nunnery, the nuns perform extensive Kunzang Tuktig Pūjā. This pūjā is very beneficial for helping the deceased through the Bardo state and onto an excellent rebirth.
Let us all aspire that we are able to perceive all sentient beings as our mothers and may we be able to repay all of our mothers’ kindnesses. May everyone rejoice in this noble and virtuous event and dedicate the merit for the benefit of all sentient beings!