Overview of Buddhist Days of Observance

What are Buddhist Days of Observance?

Buddhist Days of Observances are designated days for meditating and focusing on Buddha’s teachings.

They are special days when lay Buddhists go beyond their usual religious commitments and imitate the actions of Buddhist monks and enlightened Buddhas.

So what is the purpose of these special observance days?Buddha taught that the purpose of each observance day was to cleanse the defiled mind.

The result gives us an inner calm and joy. Buddhist Days of Observance have been in existence and continuous observed since Buddha’s time (600 BC).

Observance days serve as a reminder for keeping us loyal and engaged in our practice of Buddhism. They also give us lay people an idea of what it is like to live as a Buddhist monk.

How do lay Buddhists properly observe these special days?

On observance days, Buddhists should make an effort to meditate frequently. They should also make an extra effort to keep the Five Precepts.

Additionally, many lay Buddhists will commit to following the extended set of Eight Precepts.

For this reason, the Eight Precepts are often called one-day precepts. In addition to the Five Precepts, the Eight Precepts require the following additional commitments:

  • Refraining from all forms of sexual activity (instead of simply refraining from sexual offenses)
  • Refraining from eating after midday
  • Refraining from entertainment activities such as dancing, singing, music, television, plays
  • Refraining from wearing perfumes, make-up, and jewelry
  • Refraining from luxurious or comfortable seating and bedding

The objective of these additional vows is to go beyond basic morality and to develop concentration and mindfulness.

How frequent are Buddhist Days of Observance?

The number of observance days varies depending on the region and sect of Buddhism, but typically range from two to ten times a month.

Observance days typically follow the moon’s phases.

If you are a lay Buddhists, you can follow your local Buddhist Days of Observance (if available) or you can simply set your own observance days such as once every week (every Sunday). T

he days you observe are not as important as being in the habit of regularly observing.

Following a schedule of Observance Days will help keep you on the path towards inner peace.

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