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The Eight-Day Grand Vow Practice Successfully Completed at Tashi Triling in September 2017

In Maitreya Hall at 8:00am on September 23rd 2017 (the third day of the eighth Tibetan month), Tashi Triling’s Grand Vow practice that lasted for eight days was successfully completed following dedication and auspicious praying. The participants observing the related eight precepts were primarily the resident Sanghas and disciples living nearby. According to the sadhana followed in this practice, it took two days to observe one complete session of the eight precepts, and eight days made four consecutive sessions. 

 

According to the sutras, if a practitioner observes the eight precepts for one day (called the One-Day Vow), he will not fall into the lower realms in the next life. The two-day observation practice of the eight precepts is called the Grand Eight Precepts or Grand Vow, as it lasts longer, requires stricter preservation, and yields more merit comparing with the One-Day Vow. 

All Buddhist schools in Tibet have the tradition of observing the Grand Vow, which contains the same precepts even if the sadhanas followed might be different. Since September last year, the eight-day Grand-Vow practice has become a yearly event at Tashi Triling. At 5:00am on the first day of the practice, all the participants gather in the prayer hall, and the lama who will confer the ordinations explains to them the merit of the practice and the precepts to be observed during the day. He will then lead the participants to perform the full sadhana and relevant rituals. The whole process takes about two hours. At 8:00am, the participants start group practice in the prayer-hall, reciting the six-syllable mantra in sitting or making prostration. The morning group practice has two two-hour sessions and finishes at noon. In between, the participants are allowed to talk. They can also drink water and white tea, but solid food is forbidden. 

Lunch is “meal in one sitting”, that is, one must eat the meal while he sits and is not allowed to eat anymore once he stands up. After the solar noon (around 1:00pm at Tashi Triling during this time of the year), the participants are only allowed to drink water or white tea till midnight. From 2:00pm to 7:00pm, there will be another two sessions of group practice in the prayer hall. 

The midnight starts the second day. Food and beverage as well as talking are strictly prohibited during the whole day. At 5:00am on the second day, the participants again gather in the prayer hall to perform the relevant rituals and take the precepts.  The lama conferring the precepts will also explain the detailed disciplines required during the day. After that, the participants will conduct two sessions of group practice in the morning and another two in the afternoon. 

After sunrise on the third day, the precepts taken the day before are no longer effective when the observer can see his palm print clearly. This completes one session of the Grand Vow observation. If one wishes to continue the practice on the third day, one is not allowed to eat, drink and talk until he takes the precepts again.