Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Tex » Thu May 07, 2009 12:42 am

7. Nacca-gita-vadita-visukkadassana mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

8. Uccasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... asila.html

I'm curious how other lay Theravadins observe these precepts on Uposatha days.

With regard to 7 above, most of it is obvious, but where do you draw the line on "entertainment"? I typically refrain from playing my guitar or going out to a movie or concert or sporting event, choosing to spend the day at home with extra study time and meditation, but what about watching a movie or ballgame on tv at home? What about the news? What about talk radio in the car? Should we refrain from entertainment completely on Uposatha days?

And regarding 8 above, how do you put that into practice? On a few Uposatha days I've spent the night on the floor in a sleeping bag, other times I've slept on the couch instead of in my "luxurious" bed (which is really pretty basic anyway). Is sleeping on the floor the right idea or would you consider that overkill?

How do you observe these precepts?...
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Mexicali » Thu May 07, 2009 1:21 am

I spent a couple years sleeping on floors, it really doesn't seem like that big of a thing to me. That aside, I'm curious about the answers as well. I haven't done any uposatha days yet.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 07, 2009 1:40 am

Greetings Tex,

Regarding #7: I would consider these to fall under the banner of entertainments. I would ask myself, "What is the motive for doing this?" and if it is entertainment or even engagement with the world, I'm likely to try to avoid it. Admittedly, I don't control what potentially entertaining stimuli others put into my environment, but I don't add to it, and don't passively accept it.

Regarding #8: I won't be taking this precept any longer, because my wife doesn't want my son to get any subliminal messages about the full moon, and menstrual cycles, and Daddy sleeping on the floor. It's a pretty obscure reason, but I'm happy enough to abide by it. For the record, I actually prefer sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor to a traditional bed, so for me it's not a case of submitting to luxurious preferences at all.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby salmon » Thu May 07, 2009 4:23 am

hi tex,

Precept #7 : Like Retro, I refrain from anything that is considered a form of entertainment (indulging the senses). To be more specific, I don't listen to my ipod, I don't watch TV, don't read "garbage periodicals", don't surf the net for anything non-related to dhamma, including facebook games, youtube, etc. But I will continue reading current affairs. As I am in the media industry, I cannot always avoid dealing with music or prettifying an image. On those days, I'm extra strict with catching my mind the moment I seem to be indulging in the images/music (eg. unconsciously tapping my feet to music). Every hour or so, I'll do a check on my mind to see its state. I also dress down on days I take this precept. Since I don't normally use perfumes (or makeup), I have no problems with the beautifying bit :tongue:

Precept #8 : I've been sleeping on the floor for the last few years, so this, too, was never much of a problem. Previously when I had a bed, I would sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. During the day, I would choose to sit on the floor or on hard chairs/stools, instead of sofas. I'm also mindful to not cross my legs but to sit with both soles flat on the ground. (this is a minor training thing that I was taught when I was on retreat in Thailand...the other thing is to make sure I was sitting before I ate or drank)

HTH

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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu May 07, 2009 6:49 am

Well, I've not been able to keep #7 yet. I wondered for a bit whether we weren't supposed to wear deodorant on Uposatha days, but then I thought about the intention and weaeing deodorant for me isn't about smelling nice, it's about not smelling bad. Aftershave, on the other hand, is something I avoid. Entertainment is more difficult and it's something I'll be working on.

I find keeping #8 a bit easier. I just grab the duvet from the spare room and sleep on the floor.

Out of curiousity, how do you pronounce 'Uposatha'. I say it like 'Oo-Po-Shah-Tah' but I don't know if that's right.

Sorry, back on topic...
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby zavk » Thu May 07, 2009 8:00 am

retrofuturist wrote:Regarding #8: I won't be taking this precept any longer, because my wife doesn't want my son to get any subliminal messages about the full moon, and menstrual cycles, and Daddy sleeping on the floor. It's a pretty obscure reason, but I'm happy enough to abide by it.


Really? Heh... that's funny, but understandable.
With metta,
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Ben » Thu May 07, 2009 8:51 am

Hi all

disclaimer>\\ I don't keep the uposotha precepts except on retreat. With a young family and the only cook in the house, its impracticable at this [point in my life. I also err on the side of strictness with regards to issues of sila.
Having said that, the way I would approach precept no 7 is no tv, no music, no books/magazines , no dancing, no sensory entertainments of any kind and absolutely avoid them where possible.
As for precept no 8, I think either sleep on the floor or thin mattress on the floor is the way to go.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby cooran » Thu May 07, 2009 10:48 am

Hello all,

I keep number 7 on Uposatha Days, and number 8 occasionally.

I keep No. 7 ~ by not partying, not watching t.v., not reading fiction, not going to the theatre, not wearing make-up, not wearing perfume or jewellery, wearing only plain white serviceable clothes, not listening to music cd's. meditating or hearing dhamma talks during the day while seated on the cusion, and noble silence except for necessary communication.

metta
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 07, 2009 2:34 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Regarding #8: I won't be taking this precept any longer, because my wife doesn't want my son to get any subliminal messages about the full moon, and menstrual cycles, and Daddy sleeping on the floor. It's a pretty obscure reason, but I'm happy enough to abide by it. For the record, I actually prefer sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor to a traditional bed, so for me it's not a case of submitting to luxurious preferences at all.

:thumbsup:

I think this is a great example of not being lost in the letter to avoid the spirit of the teachings. The Buddha refers to the Letter and spirit of his teachings. The purpose of #8 is simply to live humbly. It is primarily a monastic rule so for lay people the important thing is to simply not have too luxurious a bed or sleeping arrangement at least for those days when the 8 precepts are taken. Not interfering with the normal family relationship while still having a humble sleeping arrangement is an excellent way to adjust this practice, in my opinion.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 07, 2009 2:38 pm

#7 is easy for me; never been a big fan of shows and music anyway.

For #8 I always sleep on a low platform bed anyway. I don't get caught up in the 'exact' number of inches off the ground it is because I feel the important part of the teaching is about living and sleeping in a humble arrangement, not a luxurious one.

For monastics, the exact height may be a more important issue, but for lay people, I don't think it is.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Individual » Fri May 08, 2009 6:39 am

Tex wrote:
7. Nacca-gita-vadita-visukkadassana mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

8. Uccasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... asila.html

I'm curious how other lay Theravadins observe these precepts on Uposatha days.

With regard to 7 above, most of it is obvious, but where do you draw the line on "entertainment"? I typically refrain from playing my guitar or going out to a movie or concert or sporting event, choosing to spend the day at home with extra study time and meditation, but what about watching a movie or ballgame on tv at home? What about the news? What about talk radio in the car? Should we refrain from entertainment completely on Uposatha days?

And regarding 8 above, how do you put that into practice? On a few Uposatha days I've spent the night on the floor in a sleeping bag, other times I've slept on the couch instead of in my "luxurious" bed (which is really pretty basic anyway). Is sleeping on the floor the right idea or would you consider that overkill?

How do you observe these precepts?...

I would love to observe precept #7, but I am addicted to videogames. With regards to #8, I sleep on the floor every night anyway, because I find it to be more comfortable than a bed.

I don't think most laypeople need to follow them, but it is definitely necessary for monks.

TheDhamma wrote:#7 is easy for me; never been a big fan of shows and music anyway.

No television? You use the internet, though. Do you never casually surf the net?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 8:18 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:I would love to observe precept #7, but I am addicted to videogames.


Perhaps all the more reason to try it one full-moon day.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 08, 2009 7:15 pm

Individual wrote:No television? You use the internet, though. Do you never casually surf the net?

When I watch television, it is almost entirely the news or news type shows or documentaries. I rarely casually surf the net, so when I want to follow the 8 precepts, it is pretty easy. On the internet I mainly come to this site, http://www.dharmawheel.net/, and maybe a couple of other Buddhist forums, or blogs and that's about it.

Once in a while I will watch some sports, but not nearly as much I used to do and not on Uposatha days. :tongue:
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Mexicali » Mon May 11, 2009 1:21 am

To me, it's really hard drawing a line between recreation------everything else, because I enjoy most of what I do. When I cook, weight train, read news, garden, etc it's all generally engaging to me but I'm not doing any of it for fun, per se. If/when I start doing 8 precept days I'll probably just hang at home and meditate, study, etc cos everything else will just feel like a normal day.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby sherubtse » Wed May 13, 2009 2:06 am

For me, I do not watch TV or listen to the radio. Also, no computer use at all. No reading other than the suttas or books on the Dhamma. I eat nothing after 12 noon until 4AM the following morning. After 12 noon, I only drink water, tea (no milk, but then I never take milk in tea) and fruit juices. Lastly, when out for a walk, I keep my gaze downwards.

In time, I hope to be able to keep the ten precepts.

The hardest one for me to keep by far is the one regarding food. It is a real struggle to get through the night on an empty stomach.

Having said that, the discipline is well worth the effort, as are the lessons that I am taught about my desires and cravings.

With metta,
Sherubtse

P.S. Yes I know that I have written about more than Precepts 7 & 8, but it seems reasonable to speak about the Eight Precepts as a whole.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby Individual » Thu May 14, 2009 4:56 am

TheDhamma wrote:
Individual wrote:No television? You use the internet, though. Do you never casually surf the net?

When I watch television, it is almost entirely the news or news type shows or documentaries.

Do you watch Nancy Grace, Keith Olbermann, or Mythbusters? Entertainment has a different meaning from person-to-person. That something is informative or educational does not make it any less entertainment. Buddhist monks, for instance, are still forbidden from playing chess, despite the fact that it is mentally-challenging, because it is a game nonetheless. Even discussing Buddhism can be a form of entertainment.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 15, 2009 3:41 am

Individual wrote:
TheDhamma wrote:Do you watch Nancy Grace, Keith Olbermann, or Mythbusters? Entertainment has a different meaning from person-to-person. That something is informative or educational does not make it any less entertainment. Buddhist monks, for instance, are still forbidden from playing chess, despite the fact that it is mentally-challenging, because it is a game nonetheless. Even discussing Buddhism can be a form of entertainment.

Olbermann sometimes, but mostly just the real news, such as the Nightly News at 5:30 or 6:30 pm depending upon your time zone.

That is true, that some of the so-called news shows are more of entertainment than actual news, especially Olbermann, O'Reilly, Glen Beck, etc.

I think that discussing Dhamma, even if it is 'entertaining' is okay as it is a form of kalyana mitta and for spiritual progress and better understanding.

I mainly do not get too concerned about the strictness of the 8 precepts, because I mostly follow the 8 on almost every other day anyway. :tongue: For example, I almost always eat just one meal around noon, do not have a luxurious bed, and don't care for music or shows (on all days, not just Uposatha).

About the only thing I do different on Uposatha days is wear white, meditate a little more, and don't watch sports. I suppose those who are into the 'clubbing-scene' would call me pretty boring (on all days, not just Uposatha). :tongue:
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby ckatgo » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:12 pm

Hello friends, first time poster here, although I feel I know alot of you from other boards. :anjali:

I tend to keep things simple on those days. I don't wear make up or perfume of any sorts, keep my clothes simple, no jewlery (sp?). My non buddhist hubby watches TV, on those days I usually read dhamma books or make sure he has the remote, so I don't choose shows or what is on the TV, don't listen to music or read magazines. I sleep in my regular bed, now what I sleep on is simple to begin with so I don't see an issue with that one. I try to keep my eating simple on that day as well.


Metta,
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby DhammaDan » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:29 pm

I gotta say, the 6th is the most difficult for me. The funny thing is I don't normally eat a lot, but my usual meals take place in the evening rather than one or two in the morning.

I have a specific question too regarding the 7th...I'm a bit confused about the concept of not breaking sila if so and so requests something, and in such and such case you may listen without breaking the sila. Anyhow...I take a guitar class and have my final on an uposatha observance. If I were to go and play guitar for my teacher, on the grounds that it is a necessary activity that he requested of me, would I be breaking the sila? I guess I'm asking if this situation may be an excuse for not breaking it.
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Re: Uposatha -- How do you observe precepts 7 and 8?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:05 pm

Greetings Dan,

DhammaDan wrote:Anyhow...I take a guitar class and have my final on an uposatha observance. If I were to go and play guitar for my teacher, on the grounds that it is a necessary activity that he requested of me, would I be breaking the sila? I guess I'm asking if this situation may be an excuse for not breaking it.


A couple of other solutions include not taking that particular precept on the day, or shifting your observance day backwards or forwards a day. I've seen different full-moon calendars so don't think it's an exact science... and day either side isn't going to hurt.

In fact, last Uposatha Day I had to ditch the whole thing because I had a lot of heavy physical work to do and the eating regime just wasn't practical, and I knew I would have no time to formally meditate... so what I did instead was to ensure that I did a mighty fine job of following the five precepts.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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