Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby ChangYuan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:07 pm

This is a quote from the Dharma Drum mountain website referring to after one takes refuge.

Moreover there are ritual fast days every month that proscribe eating after midday. In the West, this practice is not widely known, but in Asia many lay Buddhists engage in this practice. These dates are the 8, 14, 15, 23, and the last two days of each month according to the lunar calendar. According to the scriptures, if you observe these fast days, you will be reborn in the assembly of the next Buddha, Maitreya, and reach full liberation.


Are these just fast days, or are they days where people should follow the 8 precepts rather than 5? And if it does mean following the 8, how is this precept to be taken when one retires for the night?

I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.


I understand that this is not a required thing, but I would like to know the particulars of it to see if it could be worked into my practice.
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby sraddha » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:28 pm

Eikon wrote:This is a quote from the Dharma Drum mountain website referring to after one takes refuge.

Moreover there are ritual fast days every month that proscribe eating after midday. In the West, this practice is not widely known, but in Asia many lay Buddhists engage in this practice. These dates are the 8, 14, 15, 23, and the last two days of each month according to the lunar calendar. According to the scriptures, if you observe these fast days, you will be reborn in the assembly of the next Buddha, Maitreya, and reach full liberation.


Are these just fast days, or are they days where people should follow the 8 precepts rather than 5? And if it does mean following the 8, how is this precept to be taken when one retires for the night?

I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.


I understand that this is not a required thing, but I would like to know the particulars of it to see if it could be worked into my practice.



Hi Eikon!

If you don't have access to a Sangha to administer precepts --

These are the days where people generally take the 8 precepts for lay people -- generally these are taken in your morning meditation, the first thing is to declare your observance of the Uposatha and the taking of the Eight Precepts, while reciting the precepts one by one -- then you observe these precepts in all your activities throughout the day.

As far as observing the precepts, I started out only observing the precepts I could definately observe -- it'll give you the confidence later to take on the complete set once you are successful with the ones you can do. Now I take the complete 8 on the upavasatha days.

In Mahayana Buddhism (if you read the Hevajra Tantra) for beginners, you begin with administering and observance of the 5 precepts.
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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby ChangYuan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:44 pm

sraddha wrote:Hi Eikon!

If you don't have access to a Sangha to administer precepts --

These are the days where people generally take the 8 precepts for lay people -- generally these are taken in your morning meditation, the first thing is to declare your observance of the Uposatha and the taking of the Eight Precepts, while reciting the precepts one by one -- then you observe these precepts in all your activities throughout the day.

As far as observing the precepts, I started out only observing the precepts I could definately observe -- it'll give you the confidence later to take on the complete set once you are successful with the ones you can do. Now I take the complete 8 on the upavasatha days.

In Mahayana Buddhism (if you read the Hevajra Tantra) for beginners, you begin with administering and observance of the 5 precepts.


Well, I will be taking part in a Refuge ceremony this sunday, although I do not know for sure if the precepts are administered at the same time. If they are, that is all well and good as well :)

The reason I was wondering on this, is because I wanted to know for sure on the 8 precepts that are used. As far as I know, I would guess it is these:
6. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
eating outside the time.

7. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments,
wearing garlands, smartening with perfumes and beautifying
with cosmetics.

8. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
a high or large sleeping-place.


The 6th and 7th make great sense to me, its just the 8th where I get a bit hung up. As I asked previously, I am wondering if this means that one should should sleep that night off of their bed, or if I am lost on this?
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:09 am

Greetings Eikon,

Eikon wrote:The 6th and 7th make great sense to me, its just the 8th where I get a bit hung up. As I asked previously, I am wondering if this means that one should should sleep that night off of their bed, or if I am lost on this?

I practice in the Theravada tradition but we have these 8 precepts too... usually followed during retreat or on full-moon days, such as today.

A mattress on the floor would be adequate, as would a futon.

As a compromise to my family, I do not take this 8th precept on full-moon days at home, because my wife doesn't want my son getting any subliminal messages about the full moon, Daddy sleeping on the floor, and the female menstrual cycle. A pretty obscure reason I guess, but I'm happy enough to abide by it, because if I was completely honest, I find sleeping on a mattress on the floor more "comfortable and luxurious" than sleeping in a regular bed.

The precepts apply from dawn until dawn the following morning.

So not only can I not eat until midnight, but I can't eat until breakfast time.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby ChangYuan » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Eikon,

Eikon wrote:The 6th and 7th make great sense to me, its just the 8th where I get a bit hung up. As I asked previously, I am wondering if this means that one should should sleep that night off of their bed, or if I am lost on this?

I practice in the Theravada tradition but we have these 8 precepts too... usually followed during retreat or on full-moon days, such as today.

A mattress on the floor would be adequate, as would a futon.

As a compromise to my family, I do not take this 8th precept on full-moon days at home, because my wife doesn't want my son getting any subliminal messages about the full moon, Daddy sleeping on the floor, and the female menstrual cycle. A pretty obscure reason I guess, but I'm happy enough to abide by it, because if I was completely honest, I find sleeping on a mattress on the floor more "comfortable and luxurious" than sleeping in a regular bed.

The precepts apply from dawn until dawn the following morning.

So not only can I not eat until midnight, but I can't eat until breakfast time.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Ah, that makes much sense. Yeah, the main reason I was wondering, is because I have back issues where just getting out of bed can be torturous sometimes.
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby sraddha » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:01 am

Eikon wrote:
Well, I will be taking part in a Refuge ceremony this sunday, although I do not know for sure if the precepts are administered at the same time. If they are, that is all well and good as well :)

The reason I was wondering on this, is because I wanted to know for sure on the 8 precepts that are used. As far as I know, I would guess it is these:
6. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
eating outside the time.

7. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments,
wearing garlands, smartening with perfumes and beautifying
with cosmetics.

8. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from
a high or large sleeping-place.


The 6th and 7th make great sense to me, its just the 8th where I get a bit hung up. As I asked previously, I am wondering if this means that one should should sleep that night off of their bed, or if I am lost on this?


I'm sure each school has a different ceremony, you should perhaps ask your school which precepts will be administered --- the bodhisatva precepts are the most advanced precepts, the most difficult to keep and should not be administered if you are just starting out.

I just sleep on this old ripped up sleeping bag -- btw -- today is the fast observance! So I'll be sleeping on the floor. :smile:
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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:40 am

Do you by chance have a calendar of the days for the Chinese traditions? I haven't yet managed to find a decent Chinese lunar calendar in english yet.
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby sraddha » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:07 am

Eikon wrote:Do you by chance have a calendar of the days for the Chinese traditions? I haven't yet managed to find a decent Chinese lunar calendar in english yet.


Unfortuneatly, I haven't found one for the Chinese Mahayana tradition. However, there is a listing on this forum that shows the important dates for the Chinese Liturgical calendar:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=59

For Mahayana Tibetan tradition:

http://www.fpmt.org/resources/dates_explain.asp

I have several Chinese Buddhist temples near my home -- I'll see if they have one, and if they do --- WATCH OUT! :smile:
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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby ChangYuan » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:13 am

Well, I finally came across a site that had the Chinese lunar calendar, so I sat down and did the Chan fasting days left in this year.

july 15, 20, 21, 29
aug 4, 5, 13, 18, 19, 27
sept 2, 3, 11, 17,18 26
oct 2, 3, 11, 16, 17, 25 31
nov 1, 9, 15, 16, 24, 30
dec 1, 9, 14, 15, 23, 29
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:07 am

Greetings,

That's quite a lot, when you look at it like that!

Best wishes for your adherence to the 8 precepts on those day and may it bring great fruit.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Fast Days in Chan Buddhism

Postby sraddha » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:36 am

Eikon wrote:Well, I finally came across a site that had the Chinese lunar calendar, so I sat down and did the Chan fasting days left in this year.

july 15, 20, 21, 29
aug 4, 5, 13, 18, 19, 27
sept 2, 3, 11, 17,18 26
oct 2, 3, 11, 16, 17, 25 31
nov 1, 9, 15, 16, 24, 30
dec 1, 9, 14, 15, 23, 29


I was wondering how these lunar phases (as well as those found in the Theravada school) are so different than the ones recorded in the naval calendar??

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/MoonPhase.php#y2009

Which one would be more accurate???
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