Updated 4th April 2015
Navanga Uposatha Sila (Nine Uposatha Precepts)
Navanga Uposatha Sila (Nine Uposatha Precepts) are an expansion of Atthangika Uposatha Sila (Eight Uposatha Precepts).
Navanga Uposatha Sila (The Nine Uposatha Precepts) are observed on Uposatha Days (Full Moon, New Moon and the two Half Moon Days). Lay Buddhists often wear white clothes and attend Viharas to observe these precepts.
Navanga Uposatha Sila (The Nine Uposatha Precepts) are listed in the Pali Canon in The Book of the Gradual Sayings (Anguttara Nikaya) Volume IV The Book of the Nines, viii Amity, pages 259-260. (Published by the PTS Pali Text Society). The Pali Commentary to this Sutta states “Loving-kindness meditation is included in accordance with the temperament of the people to be guided”.
Navanga Uposatha Sila (Nine Uposatha Precepts) are discussed in Win, Sao Htun Hmat, Basic Principles of Burmese Buddhism.
The Nine Uposatha Precepts are described in Jacquetta Gomes’s article “Navanga Uposatha – The Nine Uposatha Precepts”, Jacquetta Gomes, Lotus: the Lay Review and Newsletter of the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, Issue 24 (Autumn, 2007) 6.
Available online at http://www.bbvt.org.uk/
The text of the article follows
In Theravada Buddhist countries (and increasingly in the West) many lay people observe the Atthangika Uposatha Sila (the Eight Uposatha Precepts) on the Uposatha days (Full Moon,
New Moon and the two Half Moon days). Many lay people dress in white clothes and spend the Uposatha days in monasteries or temples, practising meditation, performing Buddhist rituals, and listening to Dhamma talks delivered by monks or nuns.
A Burmese lady who used to live in Kendal and attended our Group observes the Navanga Uposatha Sila (The Nine Uposatha Precepts) where a Ninth Precept of Metta (practice of Universal Loving Kindness taught by the Buddha in the Karaniya Metta Sutta, the discourse on Loving-kindness to all beings), is the Ninth Precept.
The Nine Uposatha Precepts are described in the Pali Canon in The Book of the Gradual Sayings (Anguttara-Nikaya), or More Numbered Suttas, Volume IV The Book of the Nines, viii (18) Amity pages 259-260. The Pali Commentary to this Sutta states “Loving-kindness meditation is included in accordance with the temperament of the people to be guided”; from which we can deduce that these Nine Precepts are taken by lay people whose commitment to the Dhamma impels them to do so.
If no monk is present a layperson may take the Nine Uposatha Precepts alone or with other lay people.
The following formula is used to formally request the Navanga Uposatha Sila (Nine Uposatha Precepts) from a monk.
The translations are given after the Pali:
Layperson: Okasa, okasa, okasa; aham bhante tisaranena saha Navanga samannagatam uposatha silam dhammam yacami.
Annuggham katva, silam detha me bhante.
Dutiyam pi aham bhante…
Tatiyam pi aham bhante…
After the request has been formally made, the monk recites a formula paying Homage to the Buddha and takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha; and accedes to the
request by giving the Precepts one at a time, repeated by the layperson:
Vandana and Tisarana
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
3. Abrahmacariya veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
5. Sura-meraya-majja-pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
6. Vikala bhojana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
7. Nacca-gita-vadita-visuka-dassana-mala-gandha vilepana- dharana-mandana-vibhusanatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
8. Ucchasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
9. Metta Saha gatena cetasa, sabba pana bhutesu mnasam
pharitva viharanam samadiyami
Monk: Tisaranena saha Navanga samannagatam uposatha silam dhammam sadhukam katva appamadena sampadetha.
Layperson: Ama Bhante
Translation of the above:
Layperson: With your permission, Venerable Sir, I ask for the Nine Uposatha Precepts together with the Three Refuges. Out of compassion, please give me the Precepts.
Monk: Homage to the Lord Buddha and the Three Refuges.
- I undertake the rule of training to refrain from killing living beings.
2. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given.
3. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from non-celibate conduct.
4. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech.
5. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking drugs and drinks which tend to cloud the mind.
6. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking food at an unreasonable time.
7. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from dancing, singing, music and unseemly shows; from the use of garlands, perfumes, and unguents; and from things that
tend to beautify and adorn (the person).
8. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from using high and luxurious seats and beds.
9. I undertake the rule of training to stay with a tranquil mind infused with volition of love unto all living creatures.
Monk: Observing carefully these Nine Uposatha Precepts,
ogether with the Three Refuges, strive with diligence
Layperson: Yes, Venerable Sir.
As a matter of interest, appamadena sampadetha (strive on with diligence) appearing as the final admonition given by the Monk in the above ritual, were also the last words spoken by the
dying Buddha before he finally passed away.
It has been suggested that since the eight Uposatha Precepts can be seen as negative in formulation, Metta was added to help
develop an appamana mind (immeasurable, boundless, infinite mind) often referred to by the Buddha, and make the Uposatha Day vast and brilliant. Others have suggested that Metta helps with Sila (morality) and Bhavana (meditation and mental development).
Further information on taking Precepts is given in:
Hammalawa Saddhatissa, Venerable, and Pesala, Venerable, A Buddhist’s Manual (2nd edition. London, British Mahabodhi Society, 1990).
Rewata Dhamma Maha Thera, Maha Paritta: The Discourses of the Great Protection (With the Threefold Refuges, Precepts, Salutations to the Triple Gem, Dependent Origination and Metta Bhavana) (Birmingham, Dhamma-Talaka Publications, 1996)
Win, Sao Htun Hma, Basic Principles of Burmese Buddhism (Rangoon, Myanmar, Department of Religious Affairs, 1985)
See the webpage on this website:
Ajivatthamaka Sila (Eight Precepts with Right Livelihood as the Eighth) Bibliography