An act of giving
|Text by : Sadichchha Dhakhwa
Celebrated once every five years, this year’s Samyek saw crowds of hundreds of devotees.
Taking place once every five years in Patan, the Itilahne Samyek is a popular festival among the Newar community here. The preparations of this festival began quite a while back with the erection of pole at Nagbahal marking the official beginning of the Jatra a week ago. On Friday, February 25, the different Dipankaras were assembled in Mangal Bazar and brought down to Nagbahal with a festive mood established with the playing of traditional Newari musical instruments.
As it only happens once in five years, the festival holds a special place among rituals and festivals carried out from older days. The word Samyek implies the oneness of all sentient beings and is used in Buddhist literature as ‘Samyek-Sambodhi’ meaning perfect enlightenment. As suggested by the name, it is an important part of all Newar-Buddhist festivals.
The Newar Buddhists - Shakyas and Vajracharyas - perform an act of giving alms to the Dipankar Buddhas, Taras and Bodhisattvas of different times. This particular Samyek saw the assembly of more than a hundred Dipankars. Devotees come to offer alms as an important part Buddhism. These life-sized statues are brought from 15 different Bahals (courtyards) in Patan.