Buddhist Holy day in Theravada Buddhist Countries

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Uposatha (Observance Day)

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The four monthly holy days which continue to be observed in Theravada countries – the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days. Known in Sri Lanka as Poya Day. Uposatha or Observance Days.                         Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar hold strong Theravada Buddhist traditions, making Buddhist Holy day a very important one in each country’s calendars. Buddhist Holy day is day set aside for the observance of Buddhist precepts.

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History

The Uposatha is a Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha’s time (500 BCE), and still being kept today in Buddhist countries.  The word “Uposatha” is derived from the Sanskrit word “upavasatha,” which refers to the pre-Buddhistic fast day that preceded sacrifices in the historical Vedic religion. The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for “The practicing the Buddha’s teachings and meditation and the cleansing of the defiled mind,” resulting in inner calm and joy.  On Uposatha day, both lay people and monks intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity. On these days, the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or (as the tradition suggests) the Eight Precepts.

In the Buddha’s time, some ascetics used the new and full moon as opportunities to present their teachings. The Uposatha Day was instituted by the Buddha at the request of King Bimbisara, and the Buddha instructed the monks to give teachings to the laypeople on this day, and told the monks to recite the Patimokkha every second Uposatha day.

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Practice

Lay practice

On each day of Uposatha, lay people practice the Eight Precepts, perhaps echoing the Buddha’s teaching that laypeople should “imitate” arhats on Uposatha days. The Eight Precepts are modelled after the Ten Precepts observed by novice monks, except that the seventh and eighth precepts for the novices are combined, the ninth novice precept becomes the eighth, and the tenth novice precept (non-acceptance of gold and silver, use of money) is excluded as being impracticable for a lay person.

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For lay practitioners who live near a vihara, Uposatha is an opportunity for them to visit it, make offerings, listen to dhamma talks by monks and participate in meditation sessions. For lay practitioners unable to participate in the events of a local monastery, the uposatha is a time to intensify one’s own meditation and Dhamma practice, for instance, meditating an extra session or for a longer time,] reading or chanting special Buddhist texts,  recollecting  or giving in some special way.

40 39 48 43 44 54 36Monastic practiceOn the new-moon and full-moon uposatha, in monasteries where there are four or more bhikkhus, the local Sangha will recite the Patimokkha. Before the recitation starts, the monks will confess any violations of the disciplinary rules to another monk or to the Sangha. Depending on the speed of the Patimokkha chanter (one of the monks), the recitation may take from 30 minutes to over an hour. Depending on the monastery, lay people may or may not be allowed to attend.

On Uposatha day, most Buddhists adhere to the Eight Precepts which not only restrains people from bad behavior but also leading a more ascetic lifestyle.  The additional precepts are:

  1. Abstain from taking life
  2. Abstain from taking what is not given
  3. Abstain from sexual misconduct
  4. Abstain from false speech
  5. Abstain from intoxicating substances
  6. Abstain from eating at the wrong times (the proper times are after sunrise and before noon)
  7. Abstain from from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics
  8. Abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping

The Uposatha Day

The Uposatha is a Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha’s time (500 BCE), and still being kept today in Buddhist countries.

At Wat Nantikaram, the International Buddhist Propagation Center of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Khon Kaen Campus (IBPC.MCUKK), Nai Mueang sub-district, Mueang Khon Kaen district, Khon Kaen province, Lay people practice the Eight Precepts, the Buddha’s teachings and meditation and the cleansing of the defiled mind, resulting in inner calm and joy. On Uposatha day, both lay people and monks intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity. On these days, the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or (as the tradition suggests) the Eight Precepts.

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For Wat Nantikaram, the International Buddhist Propagation Center of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Khon Kaen Campus (IBPC.MCUKK), Nai Mueang sub-district, Mueang Khon Kaen district, Khon Kaen province, there are Lay people practice the Eight Precepts, the Buddha’s teachings and meditation and the cleansing of the defiled mind, resulting in inner calm and joy.

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Offering food to the monks

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Buddhist Activities in The Uposatha Day 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uposatha

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/uposatha.html

http://www.cam-cc.org/calendar/chhankitek.php

https://www.exotravel.com/blog/en/visakha-bucha-day-southeast-asia/

https://sites.google.com/site/sereerat2010/k4

 

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