This year Drukpa Tse Shi is on Monday 20th July which coincide with the 6th month of the 4th day in Tibetan and Bhutanese calendar, considered one of the auspicious days of all in Buddhist calendar. My family in Bhutan started talking about Drukpa Tse Shi where they get national holiday and they said they will be making pilgrimages and offerings to nearby lhakhangs and at home. I asked what actually it was and they said “you know what it is as all Bhutanese would know, it is called Choegi Khorlo Korwai Duechen where Buddha gave his first teachings in India after gaining an enlightenment” but sadly I knew very little. I decided I will look it up on the web and ask others to find out more and this is what I found.
Drukpa means 6th month and Tse Shi means the 4th day of the Tibetan calendar hence known as Drukpa Tse Shi and Choegi Khorlor Korwai Duechen means the occasion of the turning of the dharma wheel which commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon and the teaching of the Four Noble Truths. It is an important and very auspicious day to the Buddhist for it marks the day when Gautama Buddha turned the ‘Wheel of Dharma’, by giving his first ever sermon or teaching on the Four Noble truths and the eightfold path to his five disciples at Deer Park in Sarnath in India near Varanasi.
For the first several weeks after his Enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha did not venture out to teach as he wasn’t sure if anyone would understand him. He then eventually decided to look for his five former friends who were still pursuing ascetic practices. Upon meeting them he told them he had finally found the answer to all sufferings and what they had been seeking. They did not believe him at first but listened to him anyway as he had something special about him unlike anything they have noticed before.
Buddha said “dear monks listen, carefully, I have found the answer to all we seek, to liberate us from all suffering. Let me teach you and if you listen and learn and practise as I tell you, very soon you will realise for yourselves, not in the next life or there after but here and now in this present life form. You will realise for yourself the state that is beyond all life and death.”
Naturally the five monks were very astonished to hear their old companion talking like this. They had seen him give up the hard life of fasting and consequently believed that he had given up all efforts to find the truth. So upon seeing him give up, they did not believe in him, and they told him why they left him behind utterly disappointed. But the Buddha replied, “You are mistaken, my friends. I have not given up all effort. I am not living a life of self-indulgence and idle comfort. I really have attained supreme knowledge and insight into how one can achieve nirvana in one’s lifetime. And I can teach it to you what I have learnt, so you may attain it for yourselves too.”
Finally the five monks were willing to listen to him and he delivered his first sermon on the Four Noble Truths and how to practise the Eightfold Path, the noble way that would lead to freedom from suffering and ultimately nirvana, ending the cycle of birth and death. He advised them to follow the middle path avoiding the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-torture to create wisdom, to bring calm and peace, gain special knowledge; all of which will ultimately lead to an enlightenment.
Together with the Buddha, they became the first members of the Sangha, the community of dharma practitioners who follow the teachings of the Buddha as seen today. Every year on the sixth month of the 4th day Drukpa Tse Shi – Choegi Khorlo Korwai Duechen is celebrated by the Buddhist community all over the world none more so in Bhutan and Tibet.
Tashi Delek to all on this auspicious day of all.