Hello, I’m working on preparing myself to practice the eight precepts while living in a van. One thing that has felt ambiguous to me is the eighth one and what constitutes a violation of it.
ATI Lists it as:
Uccasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.
The linked sutta has this paragraph:
Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to high and luxurious furnishings such as these — over-sized couches, couches adorned with carved animals, long-haired coverlets, multi-colored patchwork coverlets, white woolen coverlets, woolen coverlets embroidered with flowers or animal figures, stuffed quilts, coverlets with fringe, silk coverlets embroidered with gems; large woolen carpets; elephant, horse, and chariot rugs, antelope-hide rugs, deer-hide rugs; couches with awnings, couches with red cushions for the head and feet — he abstains from using high and luxurious furnishings such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.
If I’m reading this correctly does that mean “coverlets and quilts” basically encompass all kinds of blankets or blanket type things on a bed? Or would a short-haired cotton mono-brown without fringe or design blanket be acceptable? Or is the rule here to sleep upon either the ground alone or a narrow (“regularly” sized) mattress without covering?
How does this apply (or not apply) to sleeping bags? Some of which can be opened to essentially function as a stuffed quilt.
How is this actually done in practice? I think particularly of areas where sleeping in severe cold is hazardous to health. I imagine also the conception of luxurious has changed drastically in the thousands of years since this precept was made, so what’s the underlying intention here and how does it assist the practice? Buddha often talks about the benefits of such and such practice, so if anyone has a passage where he states that, it would be helpful. The climate of India factored into this too I imagine, as (as far as I know) it’s generally not horrifyingly cold like Canada or New England tends to get, where homeless people can and do die from sleeping in the cold.