|Golden Buddha in strong full lotus sitting meditation position (Sue90ca/flickr.com)|
|My meditation room is my practice shrine.|
|Full and other regular phases of the Moon (Brennan Maxwell/npr.org/scpr.org)|
Each month is divided into fortnights (a two-week period), one of the waxing (growing) moon and another of the waning (shrinking) moon. Each half is therefore of 14 or 15 days. And in each half the days are numbered from the first of the waxing moon (the day after the new moon day) to the 14th (or 15th) of the waxing moon, and then from the first of the waning moon to the 14th of the waning moon.
|You promised yourself a quest for enlightenment. Walk the path-of-practice.|
Early in the morning, laypeople give alms food to the monastics who may be walking on alms round or invited to a layperson’s house. (See The Blessings of Pindapata, Wheel No. 73). Or lay Buddhists may take the food to a monastery, particularly if one of their children is a temporarily ordained or permanent monastic there.
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Where there is more study, they will hear as many as three or four discourses (sutras, bana, "sermons") on Dharma delivered by senior monastics, and they will have books to read and perhaps classes on the Higher Teachings (Abhidhamma) to attend.
|Meditation hall when Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche was giving a teaching on Seven Point Mind Training at Danakosha Dharma Center (Mitjoruohoniemi/flickr.com)|
|Meditation mudra (Sfarfal/flickr.com)|
Then he went to the Blessed One and told him what he had thought, adding: “Venerable sir, it would be good if the venerable ones also met together on these days.”
The Blessed One instructed the king with a talk on the Dharma, after which the king departed. Then the Blessed One made this the occasion for a discourse on the Dharma, and he addressed the Buddhist monastics, his disciple wandering ascetics, in this way:
“Meditators, I allow meetings on the half moons of the 14th and 15th and the quarter moon of the eighth.”
So the wandering Buddhist ascetics gathered together on these days, as allowed by the Blessed One, but they sat in silence. People went to hear the Dharma. They were annoyed, and they murmured and complained in protest: “How can these monastics, the offspring of the Shakyans [disciples of Shakyamuni, Siddhartha Gautama, a member of the Scythian clan the Shakyians who came from the west in what is now Afghanistan and Central Asia, formerly Indo-Scythia], meet together on these days yet sit in silence dumb as hogs? Ought not the Dharma to be taught when they meet?”
Siddhartha, the Scythian wanderer
Monastics heard this. They went to the Blessed One and reported what they heard. He made this the occasion for a discourse on the Dharma, and he addressed the wandering ascetics thus: “Meditators, when there is a meeting on the half moons of the 14th and 15th and the quarter moon of the eighth, I allow teaching of the Dharma [The Life of the Buddha, Bhikkhu Ñanamoli (trans), p. 157].
|The Life of the Buddha, Ven. Nanamoli (FREE)|
|Phases of the Moon (Chandra, Luna, Soma) across the sky as Earth's universal calendar.|
But if the timing of the lunar observance days in Buddhist tradition was fixed merely to coincide with the existing lunar calendar and the traditional observances connected with it, today when most people work in countries that do not follow a lunar calendar, it would seem sensible to have days for special Buddhist observance during the weekends.
Is there any other significance to the lunar observance days falling according to the phases of the Moon?
|The sources of deep happiness are rare.|
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from killing living creatures.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from taking what is not given.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from unchaste conduct.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from false speech.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from distilled and fermented intoxicants which are the occasion for heedlessness.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from eating outside the time.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see [distracting or unsuitable] entertainments, wearing garlands, smartening with perfumes, and beautifying with cosmetics.
- I undertake the training rule to refrain from a high or large beds and seats.