Uposatha Dhamma

Uposatha, a Pali word,  is often translated as “Sabbath.” In Buddhist lands this traditionally follows the phases of the moon such that every time the moon is either full, empty (new), or half way in between (first or last quarter) we get an uposatha day. That is pretty cool in itself, but wait til you hear what Uposatha days are for! Anyway, they are generally seven days apart but sometimes six or eight.

Uposatha days are normally in Asia times for special Buddhist observances. Lay people will often spend the day at a monastery communing with monks or nuns, meditating, chanting,generally listening to a Dharma talk, offering to the Buddha or to the Sangha, and will also take eight or so monastic-style precepts for the day. Monks and nuns recite the Patimokkha every other Uposatha day, on full and new moon days, the hundreds of rules that they follow every day. This is pretty cool, but wait til you hear what you get to do on Uposatha days! Anyway, in Burma Uposatha days are like weekends; people do not have to go to work so that they are free for Buddhist observances.

On Uposatha days I am going to start making a regular posting to this blog, called Uposatha Dhamma. Each of these short postings will briefly discuss some aspect of Buddhist practice that you can touch in your daily life. These will not be essays (most of this site is devoted to essays), but enough words to inspire reflection throughout the week. And discussion… you are invited to post comments with questions, elaborations, personal experiences, and so on. And who are you? You are either a neophyte or a master. Starting simple, I hope the discussion then acquires some depth.

I intend to start with the folds of the Noble Eightfold Path (Right View, Right Intention, Right Action, Right Speech, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness. Right Concentration). In the future we might take up the Refuges (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha), the Brahmaviharas (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity), and so on. Like walking on a misty day, you should quickly find yourself saturated with the Buddha’s teaching, … except maybe in a year, it will take longer than a day.

For each of the topics I thought I would find some short optional reading, on-line. Here is the first text: The Noble Eightfold Path by Bhikkhu Bodhi. I’ll try not to depend on the text too strictly.

The teachings will be what, as far as anyone can tell, original teachings of the Buddha. The two great inspirations in my own Buddhist career have been the Buddha and Thirteenth Century Japanese Zen Master Eihei Dogen. Of the two, the Buddha is clearly the more approachable, and the more systematic. Dogen can be quite inspiring and profound but also more than a bit obscure. I will also steer clear of Nagarjuna, the Mahayana Sutras and the Abhidharma. Just straight Buddha.

I invite people to comment freely, starting with this post. What would you like from this blog? (As of now there are only nine subscribers, so the comments may be sparse for a while. Subscribe!)

7 Responses to “Uposatha Dhamma”

  1. Sarah Eckhardt Says:

    I am so happy to be a part of this circle of nine (for now). I am a Buddhist wannabe which I suppose is good enough for traveling on a path. I subscribed as a way to build on and expand my experience of what I hear called loving-kindness, or mindfulness, or clarity. I like to think I have glimpsed this thing. “I” would like the “we” to experience “it” a lot more.

  2. Kim Mosley Says:

    I think anything you can say about the connection between sitting and Buddhist thought will be good.

  3. bhikkhucintita Says:

    Let’s see: Loving-kindness, mindfulness, clarity, sitting, Buddhist thought. We should touch on all of these in our discussion of the Eightfold Path, Buddhist thought under Right View, clarity under Right Concentration or Right Mindfulness, mindfulness is a fold all by itself, sitting is the whole Samadhi group, and loving-kindness is under Right Effort.

  4. Terasi Says:

    I copied your Uposatha teachings into my mobile. On this post you invited us to comment with what we would like you to talk about, so here is mine. Would you talk about Buddhism and motivation please? Ever since I learned Buddhism few months ago (I am a newbie!) I’ve become more restrained, able to restrained anger, annoyance, craving to shop junks, etc. It’s wonderful, I am happier and calmer now.
    But then I wonder if all the stress on unruffled mind, upekkha, contentment, restraining from grasping, etc could lead one to be lacking ambition in real life? For example, no ambition to become successful at work, no wish to take up further study because “well, why would I want to be a manager if I am content and happy enough just to be a clerk?”, no wish to get better things “why should I look for another place to stay, this old apartment can still shelter me even though the bathroom is leaking.” and so on.
    I am not sure if you read comments on old post, so I will probably try to reach you by other channels as well if I don’t hear reply 🙂

  5. Kim Mosley Says:

    So who has more of a beginner’s mind, the novice or the master?

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