|A forest monkey makes an offering of honey.|
According to legend, during his stay in the forest a monkey brought him an offering of a honeycomb to eat, while an elephant brought fruit and protected the Buddha from fierce animals.
|Golden statue of the kind elephant and generous monkey|
However, because of his generous gift, the monkey was immediately reborn in the celestial World of the Thirty-Three (Tavatimsa), the second of the six heavens in the Sensual Sphere (Kama Loka).
Since these events are believed to have taken place on the day of the full moon, the occasion has come to be commemorated as Madhu Purnima or “honey full moon.”
The festival is observed on the full moon day of the tenth lunar month, mostly by Theravada Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia.
This year (2018) the festival falls on September 28th, and Theravada Buddhists in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and elsewhere will observe it by offering honey and other foods as alms to monastics.
As a Buddhist lunar day of observance, uposatha, that dates back to the time of the Buddha and during which members of the monastic community or sangha and lay practitioners observe their practice more deeply -- the basic Monastic Code (Patimokkha) governing conduct within the Monastic Order is recited.
Traditionally, a minimum of four monastics is required to recite the basic code; however, in circumstances when fewer monastics are present, the Vinaya (full set of Monastic Rules) prescribes alternative activities. The most senior monk of the group leads the ceremony, following a ritual for mental purification.
Lay Buddhists also play an active role in commemorating the day, many of them observing the Eight Precepts (uposatha sila):
1. To refrain from taking life
2. To refrain from stealing
3. To refrain from sexual activity
4. To refrain from false speech (perjury, etc.)
5. To refrain from using intoxicants
6. To refrain from eating at the improper time
7. To refrain from dancing, singing, wearing garlands, and perfumes
8. To refrain from using luxurious sleeping places.
They can also practice meditation, listen to Dharma talks, recite sutras, and participate in other ritual activities. More
What is the attitude of Buddhism toward animals? The Full Moon Honey Offering is a poignant tale that shows the special place and potential of animals in the Buddhist tradition. The Dharma Meditation Initiative commemorates it on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM, Neighborhood UU Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Room 23, Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA 91103.