Festival of Lights & Merit

Festival of Lights & Merit

Those who offer one thousand lights will be reborn when Maitreya Buddha shows the deed of gaining Enlightenment and receive his first Dharma teaching.

Arya Maitreya Sutra

Four auspicious events celebrated each year

The four most important events of Shakyamuni Buddha's life according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition are honoured every year on dates in the Tibetan calendar:

  • 15 Days of Miracles culminating in Chotrul Duchen, the Day of Miracles
  • Saka Dawa
  • First Turning of the Dharma Wheel, and
  • Lord Buddha's Descent from the Deva Realm of the Thirty-Three.

Check below for our next festival dates according to the Western calendar.

 Features of every festival

  • Held principally at the Mahabodhi Stupa, though extensive light offerings are also made at Root Institute
  • This spiritual festival allows people from around the world to sponsor lights, pujas and prayer flags
  • Names and dedications of all sponsors are read aloud each evening during the festival.

Each Festival of Light & Merit includes

Hanging prayer flagsExtensive light offerings

Tens of thousands of electrical light offerings create the illusion of a starry sky surrounding the Stupa itself, a beautiful and inspiring sight. Together with the thousands of electrical lights at Root institute, these lights are offered and dedicated each evening by Root Institute on behalf of sponsors.

Three special pujas

Three specific pujas are specially arranged – Tara Puja, Protector Puja and Guru Puja – with monks from the Bodhgaya branch of Namgyal Monastery.

Hanging of blessed prayer flags

Traditional Tibetan Prayer Flags are blessed, raised beside the Mahabodhi Stupa and dedicated on behalf of sponsors. The blessings of which are spread across the Stupa grounds and inner Bodhgaya city.


Additional dedications for all the offerings

  • The long lives of our holy gurus
  • The preservation and spread of the pure Dharma
  • The temporal and ultimate happiness of the sponsors and their loved ones
  • The quick enlightenment of all sentient beings
  • Peace and harmony around the world
  • The removal of all obstacles and quick success to FPMT projects.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has advised Root Institute that each single recitation of the actual light offering prayer is equivalent to the number of lights offered. Therefore, on one night during the 15 Days of Miracles, if 100,000 lights are offered by 10 students, according to Rinpoche’s advice, one million lights would be offered on that night alone!

Sponsorship of FLAM also helps the Root Institute family

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The next festival dates

  • Saka Dawa
    Friday, 17. May 2019 - Sunday, 19. May 2019