Category: Holidays » Buddhist holidays
Sangha Day - a holiday dedicated to the brotherhood of Buddhist monks and those who keep this doctrine. It is celebrated on the full moon of the first lunar month.
Sangha (Pali: सङ्घ saṅgha; Sanskrit: संघ saṃgha; Chinese: 僧伽; pinyin: Sēngjiā; Tibetan: དགེ་འདུན་ dge 'dun) is a word in Pali and Sanskrit meaning "association", "assembly," "company" or "community" and most commonly refers in Buddhism to the monastic community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. This community is traditionally referred to as the bhikkhu-sangha or bhikkhuni-sangha. As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment, whether or not they are members of the bhikkhu-sangha or bhikkhuni-sangha, are referred to as the ariya-sangha or "noble Sangha". The Sangha according to Theravada does not refer to the community of lay followers, nor the community of Buddhists as a whole.
The Sangha is the third of the Three Jewels in Buddhism. Due to the temptations and vicissitudes of life in the world, monastic life is considered to provide the safest and most suitable environment for advancing toward enlightenment and liberation.
In Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha each are described as having certain characteristics. These characteristics are chanted either on a daily basis and/or on Uposatha days, depending on the school of Buddhism. In Theravada tradition they are a part of daily chanting:
The Sangha: The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples (Savakas) is:
1. practicing the good way
2. practicing the upright way
3. practicing the knowledgeable or logical way
4. practicing the proper way
That is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals - This Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is:
1. worthy of gifts
2. worthy of hospitalities
3. worthy of offerings
4. worthy of reverential salutation
5. the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.
The Sangha of monks and the Sangha of nuns were originally established by Gautama Buddha in the 5th century BC in order to provide a means for those who wish to practice the Dhamma full-time, in a direct and highly disciplined way, free from the restrictions and responsibilities of the household life. The Sangha also fulfils the function of preserving the Buddha’s original teachings and of providing spiritual support for the Buddhist lay-community. The monastic sangha has historically assumed responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the doctrine as well as the translation and propagation of the teachings of the Buddha.
The key feature of Buddhist monasticism is the adherence to the vinaya which contains an elaborate set of rules of conduct including complete chastity and eating only before noon. Between midday and the next day, a strict life of scripture study, chanting, meditation, and occasional cleaning forms most of the Sangha's duties. Transgression of rules carries penalties ranging from confession to permanent expulsion from the Sangha. The founder of Japanese Tendai decided to reduce the number of rules down to about 60 (Enkai). In Kamakura Era, many sects (Zen, Pureland and Nichiren) that originated from Tendai sect abolished vinaya entirely.
Monks and nuns may own only the barest minimum of possessions due to their samaya as renunciates (ideally, three robes, an alms bowl, a cloth belt, a needle and thread, a razor for shaving the head, and a water filter). In practice, they often have a few additional personal possessions.
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