Friday, February 11, 2011

1st Quarter Uposatha Dharma - Precepts

Some Buddhist traditions follow precepts during the festival days or Uposatha. As mentioned before, these days coincide more or less with the main phases of the moon and are sometimes referred to as the Buddhist sabbath. Laypersons take the opportunity to reinforce their beliefs.  The precepts as mentioned in Buddhism for Dummies are

  • do not kill
  • do not steal
  • do not engage in sexual misconduct
  • do not lie
  • do not use intoxicants
  • do not eat after midday
  • do not engage in singing, dancing, music, or any other kind of entertainment
  • do not use garlands, perfumes, or adornments
  • do not sit on a luxurious seat or sleep on a luxurious bed
  • do not accept or hold money

Laypersons should try to live by the first five on a daily basis; the remaining five are carried out on Uposatha days. Note that some of the precepts can be interpreted broadly. Others may need adjustment for today's society and for the specific lifestyle and tradition of the practitioner. Nowhere is it mentioned that there is a punishment for failing to follow them as it is with the 10 Commandments.  This site gives a modern take on the first five:

As far as I know, Nichiren Buddhism does not mention the precepts. However, following them would not detract from your practice.

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