5 Nov
Posted in: Practice, Retreats
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On the New Moon

At the retreat, we celebrated traditional observance days (Uposatha) by chanting the precepts on the New and Full Moons. In Buddhist countries around the world, people use these days (as well as the First and Third Quarter Moons) as a kind of Sabbath, by taking 8 Precepts (basically, not eating dinner…see yesterday’s post), or making special offering to monastics, staying up all night to meditate, or finding some other way to intensity their practice.

Before the retreat, I was already acknowledging these days by adding an extra sit/walk to my daily practice. But now that I’ve gotten a “taste” of what it’s like to observe 8 Precepts, I’ve decided to add that to my New and Full Moon practice as well.

Last Sunday, Nov 3, was a New Moon. So I didn’t eat after the mid-day meal (and didn’t go to the movies, lounge around in bed, or put on any make up or jewelry). And I sat long enough in the evening to listen to Dhammaruwan chant the Sattipatanna Sutta in Pali by sections (followed by Greg Sharf reading the English translation), which is what they’ve been doing back at IMS in the second 6 weeks of the retreat I just left. (You can find the tapes here.)

This New Moon observance was a beautiful way to feel connected to the yogis who I sat with for the last 6 weeks and who stayed at IMS to continue practicing for 6 more. And to all those others around the world who are practicing just like I am–with care and diligence…as best they are able.

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