Year of the Fire Dog
In late February and early March, as Tibetan Buddhists all over the world celebrated Losar, the Tibetan New Year, they inaugurated the year 2133 on the Tibetan calendar: the “Year of the Fire Dog.” The New Year officially began March 1 on the Western calendar and is celebrated with rituals, prayers, bounteous offerings, and a festive spirit. Monlam, the festival of prayer that follows the first day of Losar, traditionally lasts for two weeks, ending in the sacred “Day of Miracles”: Saga Dawa.
The celebration of Losar bears early Tibetan roots, with ritual elements tracing back to the reign of the Bn religion. The Buddhist festival celebrated today extends across the globe, and much like the New Year festivals of other cultures and religions, it marks a time of reflection, preparation, celebration, and appeals for the coming year. A common request is for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all of our precious teachers to remain with us and all sentient beings in cyclic existence until we reach enlightenment.
Each Tibetan New Year is traditionally characterized by a folkloric symbol, a mystical being whose particular qualities will create conditions, both positive and negative, for the newly-arrived year.
The characteristics of a fire dog year include a supportive climate for justice, relief, and harmony. The previous occurrence of the Year of the Fire Dog, in 1946, was a post-war reconstruction year characterized by moves toward peace and justice. Compared with recent years, it is said that 2006 will bear witness to “peace prevailing over the globe.”
“In 2006, wrongs will be righted, the underdog will become an overdog, and the idle rich may just become the idle poor,” asserts the divination website Tarot.com. International divination experts, such as Hong Kong-based feng shui master Raymond Lo, concur. Lo predicts greater international cooperation for 2006, particularly in solving environmental issues such as the control of nuclear power and the problem of global warming.
“The Dog is also a symbol of spiritual achievement,” Lo says, “The world may pay more attention to spiritual health and enrichment as long-term solutions to the hatred and religious differences which have been causing disharmony to the world in the past decade.”
Mandala wishes all of our readers and our world community at large a peaceful and beneficial New Year.