The Six Days of Fasting

Several Buddhists in China and Japan observe the rokusainichi 六斎日 that is six days of fasting, rigorous practice and strict observance of the Eight Precepts.

Chinese Buddhists and older temples in Japan follow the Lunar Calendar. It is said that the 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th, and 30th of each lunar month are appropriate days for observing the fast.

The Eight Precepts are the following:

  • No Killing
  • No Stealing
  • Sexual Abstinence
  • No Lying
  • No Intoxicants
  • No Ornaments & Perfumes
  • No Sleeping in Elevated or Wide Beds
  • No Food After Noon

Along with the precepts, those observing the fast are expected to follow a rigorous practice schedule. A simple one-meal vegan diet and setting realistic goals – like a vow to accumulate a certain number of mantra recitations during these days – are realistic goals for both lay and ordained practitioners.