A nyungne fasting is a religious fast specially designed for lay practitioners to purify negative karma and accumulate merit and wisdom. It is a widely accepted sacred act of noble suffering to experience the different realms of existence, such as the hungry ghost realm by remaining hungry and thirsty, the animal realm by refraining from talking, and the hell realm by tolerating continuous hunger exhaustion and pain.
This type of fasting involves maintaining strict vows for three days, generating the Bodhisattva attitude, and reciting the sadhana practice of the thousand-armed Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The vows taken include not killing, stealing or lying and abstaining from sexual activity, intoxicants, luxury, ornaments and entertainment for the duration of the nyungne. The nyungne puja festival lasts for one or two weekends.
On the first day, participants take only one meal at noon and fast the rest of the day, engaging in three practices sessions. Like other Vajrayana sadhanas (practise), the nyungne sadhana involves the visualisation of the deity, accompanied by prayers, offerings and prostrations and the extensive recitation of mantras. The sessions begin early in the morning and conclude in the late afternoon.
On the second day, participants abstain entirely from food and water and maintain strict silence except for the recitation of the sadhana.
The third day is the concluding day; the vows, fasting and silence get concluded in the morning of the third day, followed by a short practice session and a Tashi Delek greetings from the officiating lama.
Nyungne is one of the noble acts to commemorate the birth, attainment of enlightenment, and the passing of Gautama Buddha more than 2,565 years ago.
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vows taken include not killing, stealing, or lying and abstaining from sexual activity, intoxicants, luxury, ornaments, and entertainment for the duration”