Chokor means “Prayer Wheel” or “Dharma Wheel”, the common religious objects in Tibet, and Duchen means “great occasion” in Tibetan. Mantras – such as Om Mani Padme Hum, are believed to invoke the attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion.
Choekhor Duchen honors the day that the Buddha Shakyamuni first taught the four noble truths in Sarnath, India, and first turned the wheel of the dharma. (In Tibetan, choe refers to the dharma, khor means circle, and Duchen means a special day. ) It is also called drukpa tse shi, which means the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar. On this day, Tibetan monasteries and nunneries commonly hold major prayers. Lay Tibetans visit the monasteries, donate to the sangha, make prostrations, light butter lamp offerings, and take similar wholesome actions to honor the day by making good karma.