Uposatha

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
gingercatni
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Location: DEFUNCT ACCOUNT

Uposatha

Post by gingercatni »

HI,

Does anyone practice Uposatha on here? When I started my Buddhist practice I was began with the Theravada tradition. I observed it then but when I realised Theravada was not something I fully understood and moved to Pureland I stopped. I want to get into it again, I think it would benefit me greatly I'm just curious about other people here and their experiences. Thanks :namaste:
User avatar
Thomas Amundsen
Posts: 2034
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Helena, MT
Contact:

Re: Uposatha

Post by Thomas Amundsen »

Do you mean just practicing on uposatha days? Or observing precepts, doing puja, etc.?
gingercatni
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Location: DEFUNCT ACCOUNT

Re: Uposatha

Post by gingercatni »

tomamundsen wrote:Do you mean just practicing on uposatha days? Or observing precepts, doing puja, etc.?
I mean taking the full 8 precepts and limiting ones food and not sleeping in a bed as per the Buddha's instruction, I know it sounds quite extreme, but for 1 or 2 times a month. Just curious how other people practice it.
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
Posts: 6396
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Uposatha

Post by kirtu »

I used to practice it on major Buddhist days and sometimes more regularly on full moon or new moon days. In the past few years I have practised them less, unfortunately, due to living circumstances but still practice them a few times a year (often on a major Tibetan Buddhist day).

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition these are the Eight Mahayana Vows.

Also in the Tibetan Buddhist version of the practice one may sleep in one's usual bed but the other aspects of the practice are the same (or basically the same).

I found the practice to be literally invaluable for my overall practice . For me, it is a powerful practice resulting in a great deal of purification and accumulation of merit.

I and others have posted about the practice a fair amount here: search on the Eight Mahayana Vows/Eight Mahayana Precepts.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
Sentient Light
Posts: 354
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm
Location: Pacifica, California

Re: Uposatha

Post by Sentient Light »

I'm a Pure Land Buddhist and was raised Pure Land. My entire family practices uposatha. In Vietnamese, the practice is called ngày ăn chay ("day of fasting"). I know traditional Chinese Buddhists practice this as well. You decide how often to practice it yourself and we generally time it with the moon. It can be 2, 4, 6, 8 days a month. Apparently, Sakyamuni Buddha recommended four. My family practices on the days of the full and new moons and the days directly preceding those dates (on the lunar calendar, this is the first, 14th, 15th, and last day of the month). Some families practice it on each quarter phase of the moon.

We don't practice the same precepts as the Theravadins do, because our monastics observe a different Vinaya anyway, but here are the common practices:
  • "Fasting" from meat (nearly universal observation)
    "Fasting" from egg products (mostly the older generation observe this, but not younger folk)
    "Fasting" from alcohol/intoxicants (nearly universal observation)
    Fasting on one meal a day before noon (a devoted minority observe this; people who are already vegetarian are expected to observe this)
    Fasting on one meal a day before noon consisting only of plain rice (a VERY devoted minority observe this)
    Abstinence from sexual contact (devoted minority)
    Sleeping on low beds (devoted minority)
On these days, it's also traditional to go to the temple and give an offering to the monks / nuns there, light some incense, offer prayers for the sake of the awakening of all sentient beings, chant sutras, re-take your refuge vows, etc. Many may do these things at their own home altar if a temple isn't in reach.

The full list of precepts is found in the Sutra of Upasaka Precepts (Vietnamese: Kinh Ưu-Bà-Tắc), which include precepts for both sravaka and bodhisattva lay followers. The degree to your observance is always left up to you. Even the days, while there are traditional dates that get observed, you're given freedom to adjust things around. My own teacher has recommended to just observe every Sunday if it's easiest with today's schedule. My dad will never observe on a Sunday, so if the full or new moon falls on Sunday, he pushes it to Monday. One of my old coworkers was very inconsistent with observing the lunar dates, so would observe for the first whole week of every month instead.

When I'm very consistent with my practice of the Uposatha days, I feel strong and confident in my practice and I know I'm doing the correct work. When I am lax in my practice of these dates, I notice that my practice overall wanes too. The Lunar Observance Days are the bedrock of lay practice, in my opinion. If you can commit to just four days a month, the karmic merit is immeasurable and the effects on your mind are pronounced. And it is much easier to start adding in additional dates. This is the Perfection of Virya. This is the Perfection of Sila.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:
gingercatni
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Location: DEFUNCT ACCOUNT

Re: Uposatha

Post by gingercatni »

Sentient Light wrote:I'm a Pure Land Buddhist and was raised Pure Land. My entire family practices uposatha. In Vietnamese, the practice is called ngày ăn chay ("day of fasting"). I know traditional Chinese Buddhists practice this as well. You decide how often to practice it yourself and we generally time it with the moon. It can be 2, 4, 6, 8 days a month. Apparently, Sakyamuni Buddha recommended four. My family practices on the days of the full and new moons and the days directly preceding those dates (on the lunar calendar, this is the first, 14th, 15th, and last day of the month). Some families practice it on each quarter phase of the moon.

We don't practice the same precepts as the Theravadins do, because our monastics observe a different Vinaya anyway, but here are the common practices:
  • "Fasting" from meat (nearly universal observation)
    "Fasting" from egg products (mostly the older generation observe this, but not younger folk)
    "Fasting" from alcohol/intoxicants (nearly universal observation)
    Fasting on one meal a day before noon (a devoted minority observe this; people who are already vegetarian are expected to observe this)
    Fasting on one meal a day before noon consisting only of plain rice (a VERY devoted minority observe this)
    Abstinence from sexual contact (devoted minority)
    Sleeping on low beds (devoted minority)
On these days, it's also traditional to go to the temple and give an offering to the monks / nuns there, light some incense, offer prayers for the sake of the awakening of all sentient beings, chant sutras, re-take your refuge vows, etc. Many may do these things at their own home altar if a temple isn't in reach.

The full list of precepts is found in the Sutra of Upasaka Precepts (Vietnamese: Kinh Ưu-Bà-Tắc), which include precepts for both sravaka and bodhisattva lay followers. The degree to your observance is always left up to you. Even the days, while there are traditional dates that get observed, you're given freedom to adjust things around. My own teacher has recommended to just observe every Sunday if it's easiest with today's schedule. My dad will never observe on a Sunday, so if the full or new moon falls on Sunday, he pushes it to Monday. One of my old coworkers was very inconsistent with observing the lunar dates, so would observe for the first whole week of every month instead.

When I'm very consistent with my practice of the Uposatha days, I feel strong and confident in my practice and I know I'm doing the correct work. When I am lax in my practice of these dates, I notice that my practice overall wanes too. The Lunar Observance Days are the bedrock of lay practice, in my opinion. If you can commit to just four days a month, the karmic merit is immeasurable and the effects on your mind are pronounced. And it is much easier to start adding in additional dates. This is the Perfection of Virya. This is the Perfection of Sila.
Thank you Sentient Light :smile: That was very interesting to read. Here in Northern Ireland there are no Pureland Temples, in fact Pureland Buddhism hasn't made it's way here officially, there is only a few Zen and Tibetan Buddhist schools here. I'm pleased that your observances aid your practice, this is exactly how I hope to benefit and I'm somewhat embarrassed for not sticking with it.

I'll let you all know how I get on! :anjali:
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 12064
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Uposatha

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

kirtu wrote:I used to practice it on major Buddhist days and sometimes more regularly on full moon or new moon days. In the past few years I have practised them less, unfortunately, due to living circumstances but still practice them a few times a year (often on a major Tibetan Buddhist day).

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition these are the Eight Mahayana Vows.

Also in the Tibetan Buddhist version of the practice one may sleep in one's usual bed but the other aspects of the practice are the same (or basically the same).

I found the practice to be literally invaluable for my overall practice . For me, it is a powerful practice resulting in a great deal of purification and accumulation of merit.

I and others have posted about the practice a fair amount here: search on the Eight Mahayana Vows/Eight Mahayana Precepts.

Kirt
Thanks Kirt, glad I perused this thread;)
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
pael
Posts: 558
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:49 pm

Re: Uposatha

Post by pael »

Can you take 8 precepts, if you can't abstain from eating after noon for health issues?
Do you need to abstain from watching TV during 8 precept day?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering
Malcolm
Posts: 33398
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Uposatha

Post by Malcolm »

pael wrote:Can you take 8 precepts, if you can't abstain from eating after noon for health issues?
Do you need to abstain from watching TV during 8 precept day?
1) Yes.

2) Yes.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Uposatha

Post by Grigoris »

Malcolm wrote:
pael wrote:Can you take 8 precepts, if you can't abstain from eating after noon for health issues?
Do you need to abstain from watching TV during 8 precept day?
1) Yes.

2) Yes.
And DharmaWheel (and Facebook... goes without saying) :)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
User avatar
FromTheEarth
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:54 am

Re: Uposatha

Post by FromTheEarth »

pael wrote: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:25 pm Can you take 8 precepts, if you can't abstain from eating after noon for health issues?
Do you need to abstain from watching TV during 8 precept day?
One needs to abstain from all entertainment including TV. But I am not sure if one is not able to give up eating after noon, then one could still take the eight precepts (there are alternative ways to generate merits). Nevertheless, medications are allowed. Also, liquids with sugar in it are also okay after the noon, e.g., honey water, fruit juice without sediment, except for any diary products.
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”