We hope you can join us at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery for the annual Upasika Renewal Day on Sunday, April 30, 2017, a day of community, Dhamma study, meditation, and renewal.
Our theme for the day will be “Devotion and Ritual: Becoming The Buddha.” Luang Por Pasanno and senior Abhayagiri monastics have graciously agreed to lead us in reflections on the ceremonies, April 14, 15 and 16 (see www.abhayagiri.org/news/consecration-ceremony-for-new-buddha-statue for details), to consecrate the Buddha rupa in the new reception hall. Luang Por will reflect on the meaning and significance for the monastic and lay community of this traditional ceremony. All are warmly invited to attend the ceremony on one or more of the days, as well as the Upasika Day.
The day will also be live streamed starting at 1:00pm. You can participate by clicking on the following link:
April 30 will also be the annual Upasika Program Renewal Day, an excellent time to make a first-time formal commitment to the program, or to renew your commitment for 2017. (Program guidelines are listed below.) Please arrive between 10:00 and 10:15 a.m. so we have time to prepare for the ceremony to begin promptly at 10:30 a.m.
For all those planning to take the Upasika vows for the first time, please bring a simple offering of candles, flowers, and incense with you. (See below for more details on the ceremony.) For those renewing their commitment, we will do so as a group, presenting our offerings of candles, flowers and incense on one tray. And for those who choose not to make formal commitments, you are most welcome to join with us as well in celebrating spiritual friendship and Dhamma practice.
We hope you will also join us for the daily meal, beginning at 11:00 a.m. It’s customary to bring a dish to offer to the monastics and to share with others. Our material support of the monastery community is an important aspect of our role as upasikas (literally, “those who sit close by”), and our generous offerings of food are a tangible means of extending this support.
Attendance at Upasika Days is open both to those who wish to make a formal commitment to the program and to those who simply wish to attend for the day. All are welcome. Please spread the word among those who may be interested.
The schedule for the day is as follows:
10:30 a.m. Upasika Renewal Ceremony, Refuges and Precepts. Please plan to arrive at the monastery a bit early, by 10:00 or 10:15, so that we can prepare the offering trays without hurry.
11:00 a.m. (sharp) Meal Offering (please bring a dish to share)
1-4:30 p.m. Study/Practice Session
4:30 p.m. Tea with the monastics (optional)
Remaining 2017 Upasika Days topics and themes are:
- Sunday, June 4 - Sutta Study: The Removal of Distracting Thought, and Two Kinds of Thought
- Saturday, August 12 - Buddhism in a Global Context: Being a Skillful Citizen
- Sunday, October 1 - Meditation: Can We Function Without Attachments? The Four Kinds of Clinging
- Saturday, December 9 - Daily Life Practice: Undertaking a Self-Retreat
For directions on getting to the monastery, please visit [www.abhayagiri.org](). And if you’d like to carpool, please feel free to utilize the “firstname.lastname@example.org” email group as a means of contacting others planning to attend.
Upasika Program Purpose
- To enhance individual practice and increase self-discipline through making a formal commitment to spiritual training.
- To deepen both the intellectual and experiential understanding of the Dhamma.
- To have more supportive contact with like-minded people and the ordained Sangha.
- To be better equipped to communicate the Teachings to others.
Upasika Program Guidelines
- Undertake to live by the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts, with the Theravada Forest Tradition as the focus of one’s practice.
- Attend regular gatherings with other Upasikas, either at the Monastery or in your own homes.
- Visit the Monastery and formally take the Refuges and Precepts at least quarterly.
- Observe the Uposatha Days of the full and new moon in some fashion appropriate to your living situation.
- Practice meditation daily.
- Find some time each year to go on retreat.
- Attend at least one festival day or communal gathering at the Monastery each year.
- Cultivate a basic working knowledge of the Teachings.
- Support the Sangha according to your means and abilities.
- Keep to the training for at least one year after having made the formal commitment.
Upasika Commitment Ceremony
- The person who wishes to make the commitment as an Upasika prepares a small tray of traditional offerings - candles, flowers and incense (For those renewing for a second or subsequent year, offerings will be combined on a group tray with other renewing Upasikas.)
- At the ceremony, new Upasikas come forward to the ajahn one at a time and offer their tray, bow three times and state: “My name is Mary Q. Person and I wish to request the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts.” (Renewing Upasikas present the group tray of offerings.)
- The ajahn then gives the Refuges and Precepts to the whole group.
Please be aware that everyone is most welcome to attend Upasika Days, whether they have made a formal commitment or not. There is no ‘in’and ‘out’ group or exlusivity of any kind (and no “secret teachings” for an inner circle!). These opportunities to draw closer to the teachings are offered freely, and the occasion to make a public statement of one’s intentions and aspirations is simply made available to support those who find such skillful means helpful to them.
Hope to see you on April 30.