In this blog post, we will discuss the practices and routines of Buddhist followers in relation to temple attendance and prayer.
Specifically, we will explore the following questions: What day do Buddhists typically go to the temple? How do Buddhist followers schedule their time? And, do they follow a specific routine when praying?
Buddhism encourages followers to use the teachings of Buddha as a guide for daily life and a path towards enlightenment.
Temples are open daily for people to come and go as they please, but there are certain days on the lunar calendar called Uposatha days when many Buddhists visit temples for special rituals.
In Theravada Buddhist countries, these rituals are typically held once a week and are determined by the phases of the moon, including the new moon, full moon, and the two quarter moons in between.
In some countries, such as Sri Lanka, Uposatha days are only determined by the new and full moons.
FYI, Buddhist community in
Burma perform Uposatha rituals during the waxing, waning, full, and new moons.
Therefore, in all cases, we have two common days:
a) the new moon and b) the full moon.
During ancient times, astronomical clocks, such as lunar phases, were easy to observe.
This may have contributed to their popularity as they can be used for holidays and observances without requiring a written calendar. For example, all Burmese Buddhist holidays take place on Uposatha days.
Businesses and other secular establishments were closed on Uposatha day in earlier Burma. However, under colonial rule, Sundays became weekly holidays.
The Uposatha practice is somewhat unique to
Theravada countries. However, there are some Mahayana traditions that follow a modified version of this practice. The Japanese practice of roku-sainichi is one example.
The Mahayana branch observes a ritual equivalent to Uposatha 10 times a month according to the
Chinese calendar. The ritual is performed on the 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, and the last three days of a lunar month.
Video: Do Buddhists Have To Go To A Temple?
Also, the day that Buddhists go to temple varies greatly depending on the individual. For some, it is a daily ritual, while for others it might be as few as once or twice per month/year.
There are also those who have no set schedule and visit only when they feel like they need guidance from the monks. Buddhists may visit temples not only for prayer, but also to participate in various ceremonies, including birth and death ceremonies.