Today is the New Moon Uposatha. For those who may have heard me (or others) mention it but are unsure of it’s meaning, it is a day observed by many Buddhists for personal reflection and strengthening of one’s practice.
For me, this currently means a day of quietly thinking and observing the activities of my own mind and body as I go through what is likely to be an otherwise completely normal day. This is especially interesting (and challenging at times) being that most people around me are oblivious to the notion that I am doing anything different at all.
I have made a ritual of observing the Full Moon and New Moon Uposatha days. Many Buddhists observe Uposatha on the Quarter Moon days as well, but I have opted to start small and work my way up to that. Each Uposatha seems to bring about a different focus for me as I mature in my understanding of the various ideas and practices that are becoming so integral to my life. For instance, on the Full Moon earlier this month I failed to eat as well in the earlier part of the day and, during the fasting hours, discovered an unusual discomfort in my gut.
“Oh, this is what it feels like to actually have an empty stomach,” I thought to myself.
The emptiness of my own stomach is a feeling that I’ve realized is quite alien, and I imagine it is probably not a common occurrence to most people in the U.S. Sure, there are some that know actual hunger, but I don’t know anyone that goes through it unless by choice. I think that experiencing this sensation helps one to understand, and maybe develop compassion for, those who have no choice but to constantly feel real hunger.
Today I will go to work and consider these feelings today, and I feel that it is of great benefit to me. I hope those who also observe feel they get something positive out of the experience, and that everyone in general is well and at peace.
Finally, in case anyone would like to read a little about Uposatha observances, I have included the link below.
- Uposatha Sutta: The Uposatha Observance
translated from the Pali by
Ñanavara Thera and Bhikkhu Kantasilo
Be well, friends.