SANKASHYA – Descent from Tushita

Deeds of the Buddha’s Life:

  1. Turning of the Wheel of Dharma

Buddhist Holy Day

Motivation & Salutations

Generate the motivation of bodhicitta. As much as possible generate a strong thought of impermanence-death, which allows your mind to become Dharma. Then generate compassion and strong bodhicitta toward sentient beings.

Then think of those you have a karmic responsibility towards, those close to you, those recently deceased, and bring them all along with you on pilgrimage!



Refuge & Bodhicitta

I go for refuge until I am enlightened
To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly.
By the merits I create through listening to the Dharma, May I become a buddha to benefit all sentient beings. (3x)

Seven Limb Prayer

Reverently I prostrate with my body, speech, and mind;
I present clouds of every type of offering, actual and imagined;
I declare all my negative actions accumulated since beginningless time, and rejoice in the merit of all holy and ordinary beings.
Please, remain until the end of cyclic existence, and turn the wheel of Dharma for living beings.
I dedicate my own and other’s merits to the great enlightenment.

Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, strewn with flowers,
Adorned with Mount Meru, four continents, the sun and the moon:
I imagine this as a buddha-field and offer it.
May all living beings enjoy this pure land!


Slideshow of the Area

Location Map

Notes on Sankashya from Jeremy Russell (opens in new window).

Random Notes

From Matthieu Ricard – (February 19, 2011): We arrive at the place where the Buddha came down from Tushita. From Shravasti, our pilgrimage proceeded to the long journey to Sankisya (called Sankassa in the scriptures, or Sankasya) the place where the Buddha is said to have returned to earth, after preaching the Abhidhamma in Tushita Heaven and teaching his deceased mother.

Until recently, Sankisya was rarely visited, since it lies in very remote area famously infested with bandit, including the notorious Phoolan Devi, known as the « Bandit Queen ».

In fact, when we reached at night after a 13 hours drive, the whole country side was dark and silent, with a few houses here and there, partly in ruins, and the less daring of us felt a little bit uneasy!

It is said that the descent of the Buddha took place on the 22nd day of the 9th month of the lunar calendar on three ladders coming down from Mt Meru to the earth: on the right was a ladder of gold for the celestial beings (devas); on the left a silver ladder for Brahma and his retinue; and in the middle a ladder of jewels for the Buddha. The assembled people covered the earth for thirty leagues round. Shariputra was the first to welcome the Buddha, who then gave a sermon.

A shrine was erected on the spot where the Buddha’s right foot first touched the ground.. When the Chinese pilgrims, Hiouen Thsang and Fa Hien visited the place, they found three ladders, which had been built of brick and stone by the ancients, to commemorate the Buddha’s descent, but the ladders were nearly sunk in the earth.

There are only ruins today, but a small Ashoka Pillar marks the place.

Around the new stupa built according to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s wishes, we have build a small place where visitor can stay. There is also two large Burmese and Korean Temples.

Sutra to Read

The Buddha Speaks the Ullambana Sutra

Thus I have heard, at one time, the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary. Mahamaudgalyayana had just obtained the six penetrations and wished to cross over his father and mother to repay their kindness for raising him. Thus, using his Way Eye, he regarded the world and saw that his deceased mother had been born among the hungry ghosts. Having neither food nor drink, she was but skin and bones. Mahamaudgalyayana felt deep pity and sadness, filled a bowl with food, and went to provide for his mother. She got the bowl, screened it with her left hand, and with her right hand made a fist of food. But before it entered her mouth, it turned into burning coals which could not be eaten. Mahamaudgalyayana called out and wept sorrowfully, and hastened to return to the Buddy to set forth all of this.

The Buddha said, “Your mother’s offenses are deep and firmly rooted. You alone do not have enough power. Although your filial sounds move heaven and earth, the heaven spirits, the earth spirits, twisted demons, and those outside the way, Brahmans, and the Four Heavenly King Gods are also without sufficient strength. The awesome spiritual power of the assembled Sangha of the ten directions is necessary for liberation to be attained. I shall now speak a Dharma of rescue which causes all those in difficulty to leave worry and suffering, and to eradicate obstacles from offenses. “The Buddha told Maudgalyayana, “The fifteenth day of the seventh month is the Pravarana Day for the assembled Sangha of the ten directions. For the sake of fathers and mothers of seven generations past, as well as for fathers and mothers of the present who are in distress, you should prepare an offering of clean basins full of hundreds of flavours and the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamps, candles, beds, and bedding, all the best of the world, to the greatly virtuous assembled Sangha of the ten directions.

“On that day, all the holy assembly, whether in the mountains practicing dhyana samadhi, or obtaining the four fruits of the Way, or walking beneath trees, or using the independence of the six penetrations to teach and transform Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions, or provisionally manifesting as Bhikshus when in fact they are Great Bodhisattvas on the Tenth Ground-all complete with pure precepts and ocean-like virtue of the holy Way–should gather in a great assembly and all of like mind receive the Pravarana food.

“If one thus makes offerings to these Pravarana Sanghans, one’s present father and mother, parents of seven generations past, as well as the six kinds of close relatives will escape from the three paths of suffering, and at that time attain release. Their clothing and food will spontaneously appear. If the parents are still alive, they will have wealth and blessings for a hundred years. Parents of seven generations past will be born in the heavens. Transformationally born, they will independently enter the celestial flower light, and experience limitless bliss.”

At that time the Buddha commanded the assembled Sangha of the ten directions to recite mantras and vows for the sake of the donor’s family, for parents of seven generations. After practicing dhyana concentration, the Sangha accepted the food. When they first received the basin, they placed it before the Buddha in the stupa. When the assembled Sangha had finished the mantras and vows they received the food.

At that time the Bhikshu Maudgalyayana and the assembly of Great Bodhisattvas were all extremely delighted and the sorrowful sound of Maudgalyayana’s crying ceased. At that time Maudgalyayana’s mother obtained liberation from one kalpa of suffering as a hungry ghost. Maudgalyayana addressed the Buddha and said, “This disciple’s parents have received the power of the merit and virtue of the Triple Jewel, because of the awesome spiritual power of the assembled Sangha. If in the future the Buddha’s disciples practice filiality by offering up the Ullambana basins, will they be able to cross over their present fathers and mothers as well as those of seven generations past?”

The Buddha replied “Good indeed! I am happy you asked that question. I just wanted to speak about that and now you have also asked about it. Good man, if Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, kings, crown princes, great ministers, great officials, cabinet members, the hundred ministers, and the tens of thousands of citizens wish to practice compassionate filial conduct, for the sake of the parents who bore them, as well as for the sake of fathers and mothers of seven lives past, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the day of the Buddha’s Delight, the day of the Sangha’s Pravarana, they all should place hundreds of flavours of foods in the Ullambana basins, and offer them to the Pravarana Sangha of the ten directions. They should vow to cause the length of their present fathers’ and mothers’ lives to reach a hundred years without illnesses, without sufferings, afflictions, or worries, and also vow to cause seven generations of fathers and mothers to leave the sufferings of the hungry ghosts, to be born among humans and gods, and to have blessings and bliss without limit.”

The Buddha told all the good men and good women, “Those disciples of the Buddha who cultivate filial conduct should in thought after thought, constantly recall their present fathers and mothers when making offerings, as well as the fathers and mothers of seven lives past, and for their sakes perform the offering of the Ullambana basin to the Buddha and the Sangha and thus repay the loving kindness of the parents who raised and nourished them.”

At that time the Bhikshu Maudgalyayana and the four-fold assembly of disciples, hearing what the Buddha said, practiced it with delight.

End of the Buddha Speaks the Ullambana Sutra.

Dedication Prayers

Dedicate that you too may complete the Twelve Deeds of a buddha. Dedicate for your friends and family and those you have responsibility for, that you may lead them all to enlightenment. Make any other specific dedications for the end of war, the halt of climate change, the eradication of all pandemics and disease, and the success of all your spiritual endeavours.


Due to the merits of these virtuous actions
May I quickly attain the state of a Guru-Buddha
And lead all living beings, without exception,
Into that enlightened state

Bodhicitta Verse

May the supreme jewel bodhicitta
Not yet born, arise and grow
May that born have no decline
But increase forever more

Long Life Prayer for HH Dalai Lama

The wish-granting wish-fulfilling jewel,
Source of every single benefit and happiness in this world,
To the incomparably kind Tenzin Gyatso, I beseech:
May all your holy wishes be spontaneously fulfilled.

Long Life Prayer for Lama Zopa Rinpoche

You who uphold the Subduer’s moral way, who serve as the bountiful bearer-of-all,
Sustaining, preserving, and spreading Manjunath’s
victorious doctrine;
Who masterfully accomplish magnificent prayers honouring the Three Jewels:
Savior of myself and others, your disciples, please, please live long!

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