Nyungne is a fasting ritual practiced to swiftly purify negative karma and to increase the happiness of all beings. Each nyungne is accomplished over two days of practice. On the first day one rises before dawn and takes the eight vows, listed below. From that moment, no eggs or meat should be consumed, and breakfast is usually limited to porridge. After the morning sessions, a substantial lunch is served, the only food for the next 36 hours. Until one goes to sleep at night, one can drink water. Upon awakening, however, and throughout the entire second day, one maintains silence, except for the recitation of prayers and liturgies, and does not eat or drink. One again takes the eight vows at dawn on the second day.
At dawn on the third day, the nyungne is complete, unless one decides to do another two days, in which case one eats some porridge and again takes the eight vows.
The eight vows of nyungne are (1) no killing (2) no stealing (3) no sexual interactions (4) no lying (5) no perfumes, meaning alluring substances, or jewelry, meaning attractive adornments (6) no singing or dancing, meaning entertaining activities (7) no high seats or luxurious beds, meaning undue comforts (8) not to eat except at the specified times. As well, one doesn’t eat meat, eggs, onions, garlic, or cabbage, and one does not use intoxicants. It is important to dress more warmly than usual when fasting.
The liturgy of nyungne is based on the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara. The merit of renunciation and purification is sent to the beings of the six realms, to release them from suffering. The schedule of the two-day nyungne practices follows. One must be at Khadro Ling the night before, and stay until the morning after. The retreat fees include breakfast of the third day, but not dinner the night before. As well, one should purchase the relevant liturgies.
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