Articles about Buddha

Buddha’s Daily Life

Update: 05/05/2007
Buddha can be considered the most actively and enthusiastically religious leader in the world. He was always busy with dharma work all the time, except few moments for physical needs. His activity program was arranged very orderly and exemplary. Inner life was to go into meditation and to experience Nirvana happiness; the outer was to serve altruistically, to boost sentient beings’ dignity. He attained wisdom, he tried to awake others and led sentient beings out of the life affliction cycle.

His daily activities were divided into 5 phrases:

1. Morning, 2. Afternoon, 3. The first watch, 4. The centered watch, 5. The last watch.



Every day, at dawn, Buddha observed over the world with divine eyes in order to find people who needed his help. If finding someone needed supporting for mind, needn’t waiting for entreating, he would come to lead that person into the right path.  He walked, but he sometimes use supernatural power to fly in the air. As usual, he came to spoiled, contaminated people like Angulimala, homicidal thief and Yaksa, a cruel devil while Visakha, a girl with passionate devotion and millionaire Anathapindika and the wise and virtuous people such as: Sariputta and Moggallana went to Buddha for his guidance.


 While saving the living from the sea of misery, unless there were someone offering him a repast, Buddha, to whom kings revered, respected and kowtow, went to beg alms on walks alone or with monks. Standing in front of every house in silence, without words, he received food from kind hearted people who gave alms with pure and joyful mind, then he came back to pagoda. Until the age of 80, although his unstable health, he still went for alms in Vesali rampart.


Buddha had meal before noon. After that, Bhikkhus gathered to listen a short dharma lecture from him. Then he held a Triratna refuge ceremony, read the five commandments and he directed to the way of saints, the liberating path for people who reached full spiritual level. Some people came to ask for appropriate meditation subject for their temperaments. Sometimes he granted leaving-home ceremony if being requested a proposal.


2. Afternoon.

After lecturing or inciting disciple, Buddha returned to the house of chastity. In convenience, He could lie on his right side and regained his composure awhile. At that moment, he entered into great compassion state (Maha Karuna Samapatti) and use Buddha’s eyes to observe the world, particularly Bhikkhus who went into deep forest to practice meditation and disciples from afar, in order to lead and counsel them. If any disciple from afar needed help, he flight to him for supporting by using supernatural power then coming back to the house of chastity.


In the afternoon, devotees came to listen to Dharma. Thanks to Buddha’s eyes, he knew their temperaments to lecture dharma appropriately for 1 hour. Every listener felt like the Buddha’s dharma especially towards his/her, although their temperaments and situations totally different. That is Buddha’s teaching method. He usually used examples, images, fables related to daily home life to explain the doctrine, and he aimed at intellectuality more than sentiment.


For people of average class, Buddha began to teach generosity, discipline and happiness of celestial scenes. For more advanced people, he referred to the threat of material pleasures and happiness of the refusal, the escapism. For people achieving a level of nobility, he preached about The Four Noble Truths.


In some rare cases - such as: Angulimala and Khema, Buddha used magical power to impact on their mind.


A Buddhist poetess sang the praises as follows: “to bring joyfulness to the wise, to create knowledge for the average class, and to dispel the darkness of the ignorant, it is indeed the language for everyone”.


Both classes of people, rich and poor, noble and humble, abandoned their old faith to head towards Buddha’s message of peace.

That initial religion background (sasana) begun with the five priests was considered a nucleus of the cell grew early, extended to the millions of people and spread over the center of India gently and peacefully.

3.The first watch.

From 6 pm to 10 pm was a period when the Buddha reserved for monks to ask him for clarifying their doubts, to question him on complex things of doctrines, to ask for appropriate meditation subject and to listen to a Dharma lecture.


4.The centered watch.

From 10pm to 2 am, the Devas and Vassal brahma invisible by human eye, from celestial stages, came to talk to Buddha and asked him about doctrines. A paragraph in scriptures which is usually repeated as follows: “at the time the night was late, a Devas with dazzling halo approached the Buddha, reverently bowed down and stood a side.” Many Buddhist scriptures and questions and answers were recorded in the collection of Samyutta Nikaya (TÆ°Æ¡ng Ưng Bá»™ )


5.The last watch

 In the last night watch, from 2 am to 6 am is divided into 4 periods. In the first period, from 2 am to 3 am, Buddha was going for a meditated walk. From 3 am to 4 am, he was lying on his right side for meditation. From 4am to 5 am, he was entering into great compassion state (Maha Karuna Samapatti), spreading compassion everywhere, and soothing the minds of all sentient beings. After that, he used Buddha eyes to observe world for looking for people need his help. No matter how far away virtuous people and those needing him were, he would realize and open his heart, came voluntarily to bring necessary spiritual support to them.


So, all day the Buddha was always busy with the task of ethics. He just slept an hour. Within 2 round hours, in the morning and at dawn, he watered the whole world by boundless kindness and brought happiness to millions of beings. He lived in poverty voluntarily, seeking alms without disturbing anyone, being vagrant within 8 consecutive months to preach Buddhism, he constantly attempted to bring good things and happiness to everyone until entering Nirvana, at the age of eighty.


(Quoted: “Buddha and Buddhist Dharma”, tranlated into Vietnamese by Pham Kim Khanh, Saigon 1970)

Super Senior Venerable Narada.      

Translated into English by Nguyen Thuy Oanh.

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