Challenge of Eight Precepts

Today I am observing my first Uposatha for 2014 and have been considering some of the challenges I will likely face as the day progresses.

The first five precepts aren’t so difficult, but the addition of three can cause certain complexities. These three are:

  1. to abstain from food after noon and before dawn
  2. to refrain from entertainments such as music, dancing, singing, etc.
  3. to abstain from high or luxurious sitting and resting places.

Abstaining from food isn’t so big of a deal for me… I like to eat, but I can go without. Luxurious sitting and resting places are a non-issue, too, as I have no thrones upon which to sit and my bed is very basic and low to the floor.

I think the largest issue I have pertains to entertainments… I mean, I can choose to not play computer games or listen to music, but I know better than to think that I can get others to do the same when they are around me, and there are numerous instances throughout any given day when I’m bombarded by entertainments I didn’t request (many of which I don’t particularly enjoy, even).

I have made the determination that as long as I don’t have the intention to turn on music that I am not entirely breaking the precept, but I personally feel like it is a grey area because it isn’t as if I don’t listen at all.

Often, I think my biggest problem is that I’m harder on myself than I really need to be. I’ll feel bad because I caught myself listening to (enjoying) a coworker’s music, but the reality of it seems to be that I’m not going to be able to avoid such situations unless I seclude myself entirely on Uposatha days — which will not even be a possibility for a very long time so there is no use in dwelling too much on it.

To those who observe Uposatha days as I do, please do not be too hard on yourself. Like any practice, there is work in perfecting it, and it is often enough to simply acknowledge a lapse in mindfulness and to renew one’s efforts.

I hope you are well on this auspicious day, friends!

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for the post, in our post modern western world it is difficult without going into retreat, as we cannot control those around us. Your intention is there – part of practicing is accepting things and the conditions under which we practice as they are. Best of luck.

    1. Indeed! Thank you, friend! :)

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