Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Supermoon Buddhist Observance

Crystal Quintero, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. √Ďanavara Thera and Bhikkhu Kantasilo, Uposatha Sutra: The Lunar Observance (AN 8.41)
Burma's Shitthuang Pagoda, ruins of Mrauk U, Arakhine state (Jon Sheer/Jraptor/flickr)
The brilliant and nearby Supermoon 2014 (Evgeny Yorobe/earthsky.org)
  
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was residing in Jeta's Grove at the millionaire's monastery, near Savatthi.

At that time the Blessed One, having called all the monastics together, addressed them: "Meditators!" The monastics answered in assent: "Venerable sir!" (They then prepared themselves for the following sutra). The [Buddha] then gave the following teaching on lunar observance days (uposatha).
 
"Meditators, the lunar observance is comprised of eight factors [precepts] that the noble (one entered upon the stages of enlightenment) disciple observes, the observation of which brings glorious and radiant fruit and benefit.
 
"Meditators, what is the lunar observance?"
 
1. "Noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline reflect in this way: 'All enlightened beings (arhats), for as long as life lasts, have given up the intentional taking of life. The club and sword have been laid down. They have shame (of doing evil) and are instead compassionate toward all beings.'
 
"All of you have given up the intentional taking of life, have put down all weapons, are possessed of shame (of doing evil), and are compassionate toward all beings. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the first factor.

 
2. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up taking what has not been given. They take only what is given, are intent on taking only what is given. They are not thieves. Their behavior is spotless.'
 
"All of you have given up the taking of what has not been given, are ones who do not take what is not given, are intent on taking only what is given, are not thieves. Your behavior is spotless. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the second factor.

3. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up that which is an obstacle to the Brahma-faring [Brahmacharya, the high life, the pure life, continence, chastity, celibacy]. Their practice is like that of a brahma [a god being]. They are far from sexual intercourse [or any erotic activity for this observance day], which is a practice of lay people.'
 
"All of you have given up that which is an obstacle to the Brahma-faring and behave like a brahma. Your behavior is far from sexual intercourse. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the third factor.

Standing Buddha statue, Thailand, rung by Moon (happySUN/flickr.com)
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Moon and Sun-faced-Buddha points.
4. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up false speech [perjury, harsh-, divisive-, or careless-speech]. They utter only the truth and are intent on the truth. Their speech is firm and is composed of reason. Their speech does not waver from that which is a mainstay for the world.'
 
"All of you have given up false speech. You speak only the truth and are intent only on that which is true. Your speech is firm and with reason. Your speech does not waver from that which is a mainstay for the world. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the fourth factor.
 
5. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up the taking of liquors and intoxicants, of that which intoxicates, causing carelessness (heedlessness). They are far from intoxicants.'
 
"All of you have given up the taking of liquors and intoxicants. You abstain from drink which causes carelessness. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the fifth factor.
 
6. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, eat at one time only and do not partake of food in the evening. They abstain from food at the 'inappropriate' time."
 
"All of you eat at one time only and do not partake of food in the evening. You abstain from food at the inappropriate time. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the sixth factor.
 
What is a "super" moon? (rednewswire)
7. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up singing and dancing, the playing of musical instruments, and the watching of entertainments, which are stumbling blocks to that which is wholesome. Nor do they bedeck themselves with ornaments, flowers, or perfume.'
 
"All of you have given up singing and dancing, the playing of musical instruments, and the watching of entertainments, which are stumbling blocks to that which is wholesome. You do not bedeck yourselves with ornaments, flowers, or perfume. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the seventh factor.
 
8. "Meditators, noble disciples in this Dharma and Discipline also reflect: 'All arhats, for as long as life lasts, have given up lying on large or high beds. They are content with low beds or bedding made of grass.'
 
"All of you have given up lying on large or high beds. You are content with low beds or beds made of grass. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arhats, and the lunar observance will have been observed by you. This is the eighth factor.
 
"Meditators, the lunar observance is comprised of these eight factors which the noble disciple observes, and it is of great and glorious fruit and benefit."
 
Thus the Blessed One spoke on the lunar observance. The monastics were delighted and rejoiced at his words.

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