Buddha’s Enlightenment Day
On April 15, NKT Centers celebrate Buddha’s Enlightenment. On this day, all our virtuous actions are 100,000 times more powerful, and it is an especially auspicious day to purify negativity.
To mark this special occasion, on Thursday, we will engage in powerful prayers:
- We take the Mahayana Precepts at 6:30 – 7 am. In this practice we promise to keep the 8 precepts for 24 hours, refraining from negative actions as a special purification practice, and we eat only one meal a day (lunch).
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- Offering to the Spiritual Guide at 10 am (online), requesting blessings to increase our spiritual realizations of sutra and tantra.
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A PURE DAY
The essence of the practice is to take eight precepts and to keep them purely for a period of twenty-four hours. Attendants should avoid wearing jewelry or perfume that day or eating breakfast. During the session, everyone will make promises to keep throughout the day, including avoiding eating after lunch. We first need to receive these precepts from a qualified Preceptor, and then we can take them on our own as often as we wish. If we wish to take the essence of this precious human life we should strive to engage in this practice as often as we can.
An explanation of the practice:
When we take the eight Mahayana precepts, we explicitly promise to abstain for twenty-four hours from eight actions:
- Sexual activity
- Taking intoxicants
- Eating after lunch
- Sitting on high or luxurious thrones or seats
- Wearing ornaments, perfume, etc, and singing and dancing, etc.
These eight, however, are merely symbolic, for in reality we promise to abstain from all non-virtuous actions for twenty-four hours. Taking and keeping these precepts is a special purification practice. Buddha realized that all living beings’ suffering comes from their previous negative karma, and so he taught special practices to purify it.
We all want to be happy – living in a pure environment with pure friends, pure enjoyments, and so on – but this is unattainable for as long as we have negative karma in our minds. Therefore, we need to rely upon Buddha’s skillful method for purifying our negative karma. This practice is very simple, and it lasts for only a day at a time; but it leads to very great results.