Posted in Zen Buddhism

The Buddha’s Daily Routine

The Buddha slept on his right side, with his hand under his head, one foot overlapping the other.

He got up early, around 4 am, to meditate. Since he was psychic, he checked on his disciples and revealed any plots before they were hatched. And he prayed for people. He also did walking meditation in his room.

Then he washed up and got dressed. At dawn, he headed out with his bowl to beg. He begged from the poor as well as the rich, so that they could earn merit, too. He stood silently at the gate of each house and waited to see if anyone came out with an offering. If not, he moved on to another house.

If the Buddha and his disciples were moving from one place to another, they generally traveled during the time of their begging rounds.

He took the food home to eat and was generally done by noon. If someone invited him to their home for lunch, he accepted and gave a teaching afterward.

Next, he gave his disciples a topic for contemplation. As was the custom, the Buddha and his disciples took a nap during the hottest part of the day. However, they did not lose awareness.

At dusk, the Buddha gave dharma teachings to any lay people who came. He used parables relevant to their lives, as well as questioning.

After the evening teaching, he took a bath and rested.

During the first watch of the night, after the lay people had returned to their homes, he taught the monastics. Then he went to sleep.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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