What do eight-gate precepts and fasting denote?


The eight-gate precepts and fasting denote, first, no killing, second,

no stealing, third, no engaging in sexual activity, fourth, no lying, fifth,

no consumption of intoxicants, sixth, no sitting on large beds tall and

wide, seventh, no donning of flowers in hair and necklace of precious

stones or applying of fragrant ointments on body, and eighth, no music,

dance, or recreations (indicating performances in entertainment) and

no intended viewing or attendance as such.

Gate implies prohibition, disallowing and putting a stop to eight

behaviors, to destruction and violation. Cultivation and keeping of

these eight precepts enable closing of all doors that open to the evil

destinies of the hells, hungry ghosts, and animals.

Fasting, its Chinese character constituting two parts, of one and

mind, connotes inner cleansing and purifying to become adorned and

impeccable. As Buddhism stresses on assumption of the middle path,

the stipulation of no eating past noon does tally with practicing the

method of exit from the world as a whole. Such is the meaning of

the eight-gate precepts and fasting.

Observation of the eight-gate precepts and fasting usually runs for

seven days. But in this day and age when everyone has own work

schedule and tight routine, it does come down to three days or

two days and one night.