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gerrymob
21 Apr 12, 16:36
Moderators Note:

Posts moved from New Member Welcome and Introductions Forum:


Hello Buddhists! I've been attracted to Buddhist philosophy for a long time before calling myself a Buddhist. I grew up as a moderate Roman Catholic, yet with many years of extensive research and personal experience, I have come to the realization that Christianity is founded on false mythologies and terrible perversions of truth. This was very difficult and unsettling for me to accept, yet has opened my eyes from great delusion and willful ignorance.

I am committed to worshipping the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. I have no grudges against the ordinary Christian follower. It is the senseless Bible and corrupt, hypocritical, religious institutions I totally disagree with. Buddhism, on the other hand, is everything it teaches. This is where I am at in my awakening and becoming a Buddha! I search now for greater compassion and discipline in my meditation practice. :peace:

Reply from Gerrymob

Worshipping the Buddha, Dharms and Sangha??

I have been a practising Theravada Buddhist for many years and don't worship anyone or any thing.

Peace

Gerry

Bgood
22 Apr 12, 01:50
Worshipping the Buddha, Dharms and Sangha??

I have been a practising Theravada Buddhist for many years and don't worship anyone or any thing.

Peace

Gerry

Do you worship life? Or revere nature? Or honor your mother? Or "worship" some attachment? Perhaps a sense of reverance and respect for the Buddha is only appropriate for a more sincere follower. Without worship, humility is lacking and the ego is excessive. Why would not a receptive student worship his or her most generous teacher?

woodscooter
22 Apr 12, 09:06
I think the difference in opinion here comes from the baggage that some of us attach to the word 'worship'.

I think of 'worship' as a kind or ritualistic devotion, and I understand Gerrymob's dislike of the notion. To a great extent I share Gerrymob's point of view.

Yet at the same time I have unlimited respect for the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, and of course Bgood is expressing exactly the same point. Bgood chooses to use the word 'worship'. That's perfectly right if that's the word he chooses to use.

As Bgood is a newcomer to this site, I feel that Gerrymob might have expressed his view a bit more carefully. However, this is a website for discussion, and all opinions are open for debate.

Woodscooter.

Bgood
22 Apr 12, 18:21
I think it is also just a matter of wording myself. I don't feel 'submissive' to Buddha in my worship as would be the attitude in a Christian Church to an All Powerful and Punishing yet forgiving only if you submit type of God. I just deeply respect all forms of buddhism.

white_wolf
23 Apr 12, 19:21
Maybe it's just my Bible Belt, Baptist, upbringing, but worship has a very negative connotation in my mind. To me it implies a form of submission to an all-powerful and angry God. I don't like the term, but that's just me.

Element
23 Apr 12, 22:13
at least in the more meditation orientated forest monasteries, words such as 'praise' or 'honor' are used, such as:


I chant my praise to the Blessed One, I bow my head to the Blessed One.
I chant my praise to this Teaching, I bow my head to this Truth
I chant my praise to this Sangha, I bow my head to this Sangha.

Amaravati Chanting Book (http://www.amaravati.org/documents/ABM_Chanting_Book_2006.pdf)

however, our internet translator, Thanissaro, uses the word 'worship' (which is unusual for most who have practised in monasteries)


I worship most highly that Blessed One,
To that Blessed One I bow my head down.

I worship most highly that Dhamma,
To that Dhamma I bow my head down.

I worship most highly that Sangha,
To that Sangha I bow my head down.

Pali Chanting Guide (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/dhammayut/chanting.html#morning)

;D

Trilaksana
23 Apr 12, 22:22
I don't like the word worship either because to me it seems to imply blind devotion. I also associate it with rituals which to me seem pointless. However it seems Bgood simply thinks of worship differently so there is no real conflict here.

Murchovski
24 Apr 12, 07:15
White Wolf.

I agree with you; I see terms such as adoration, worship, devotion etc as negative connotations suggestive of fear and hope for an esoteric continuum, rather than humbly learning through experience and genuine desire to become a better person,not some sort of sage, saint, or master. ;)

Bgood
25 Apr 12, 01:50
White Wolf.

I agree with you; I see terms such as adoration, worship, devotion etc as negative connotations suggestive of fear and hope for an esoteric continuum, rather than humbly learning through experience and genuine desire to become a better person,not some sort of sage, saint, or master. ;)

Could adoration, worship and devotion to Buddha be a way of learning with the heart? I believe I can gain a bodhisattva's compassion with this reverance for my teachers, heroes and ultimate sage, Buddha. I see how 'worshipping a god or idol' can be manipulated, abused or excessive as is the case in many religions, probably even including our own. But I think this could be like saying "Love stinks" because one has been heartbroken and disappointed with intimate relationships of the past. (Just an idea)

If I believe, practice, trust, and follow all of the wise advice a Buddha teaches, and I am all the happier and stronger for it, then it seems only appropriate to be grateful, respectful and acknowledgable to the bestower of such useful wisdom. Also, in worshipping the Buddha, one is transferring the ego's narcissitic self-worship into a form outside one's limited and impermanent body which is very skillful in advancing enlightenment. This is because, in reality, there is no-self, only emptiness.

white_wolf
25 Apr 12, 03:56
Could adoration, worship and devotion to Buddha be a way of learning with the heart? I believe I can gain a bodhisattva's compassion with this reverance for my teachers, heroes and ultimate sage, Buddha. I see how 'worshipping a god or idol' can be manipulated, abused or excessive as is the case in many religions, probably even including our own. But I think this could be like saying "Love stinks" because one has been heartbroken and disappointed with intimate relationships of the past. (Just an idea)

If I believe, practice, trust, and follow all of the wise advice a Buddha teaches, and I am all the happier and stronger for it, then it seems only appropriate to be grateful, respectful and acknowledgable to the bestower of such useful wisdom. Also, in worshipping the Buddha, one is transferring the ego's narcissitic self-worship into a form outside one's limited and impermanent body which is very skillful in advancing enlightenment. This is because, in reality, there is no-self, only emptiness.

Well, in my mind the problem with terms like worship is that worship implies that you are totally reliant on the being you are worshiping, but the Buddha taught that he could only show the way, we have to walk the path. He can't carry us down it.

Aloka
25 Apr 12, 04:56
The section "Looking at Buddhism" from "Handbook for Mankind" by Buddhadhasa Bhikkhu is worth reading :

Here's an excerpt:




"Buddhism" means "the Teaching of the Enlightened One." A Buddha is an enlightened individual, one who knows the truth about all things, one who knows just what is what, and so is capable of behaving appropriately with respect to all things. Buddhism is a religion based on intelligence, science and knowledge, whose purpose is the destruction of suffering and the source of suffering.

All paying of homage to sacred objects by means of performing rites and rituals, making offerings or praying is not Buddhism. The Buddha rejected all this as foolish, ridiculous and unsound. He also rejected the celestial beings, then considered by certain groups to be the creator of things, and the deities supposed to dwell, one in each star in the sky. Thus we find that the Buddha made such statements as these:

"Knowledge, skill and ability are conducive to success and benefit and are auspicious omens, good in their own right regardless of the movements of the heavenly bodies. With the benefits gained from these qualities, one will completely outstrip those foolish people who just sit making their astrological calculations." And: "If the water in rivers (such as the Ganges) could really wash away sins and suffering, then the turtles, crabs, fish and shellfish living in those sacred rivers ought by now to be freed of their sins and sufferings too."

And: "If a man could eliminate suffering by making offerings, paying homage and praying, there would be no one subject to suffering left in the world, because anyone at all can pay homage and pray. But since people are still subject to suffering while in the very act of making obeisances, paying homage and performing rites, this is clearly not the way to gain liberation."

To attain liberation, we first have to examine things closely in order to come to know and understand their true nature. Then we have to behave in a way appropriate to that true nature. This is the Buddhist teaching; this we must know and bear in mind.

Buddhism has nothing to do with prostrating oneself and deferring to awesome things. It sets no store by rites and ceremonies such as making libations of holy water, or any externals whatsoever, spirits and celestial being included. On the contrary, it depends on reason and insight.

Buddhism does not demand conjecture or supposition; it demands that we act in accordance with what our own insight reveals and not take anyone else's word for anything. If someone comes and tells us something, we must not believe him without question. We must listen to his statement and examine it. Then if we find it reasonable, we may accept it provisionally and set about trying to verify it for ourselves. This is a key feature of Buddhism, which distinguishes it sharply from other world religions.


http://www.buddhanet.net/budasa4.htm





:hands:

Goofaholix
25 Apr 12, 05:01
I also find the word worship a total turn off, I don't think the Buddha needs any kind of endorsement from us in the way some religions believe their Gods do.

Surely reverence and gratitude is more appropriate.

I don't have a problem with the rituals that appear to be worship-like though and engage in them whenever appropriate, to me they have two functions; humbling oneself, and mindfulness.

Aloka
25 Apr 12, 05:29
I don't have a problem with the rituals that appear to be worship-like though and engage in them whenever appropriate, to me they have two functions; humbling oneself, and mindfulness.

I'm accustomed to bowing x 3 together with repeating to myself the Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha whenever I go into the shrine room of a monastery or Buddhist centre, as well as before doing practice at home. Its a sign of recollection and respect for me, rather than what I'd call worship.


.

Johnny Panic
26 Apr 12, 03:35
Good quote in #11, Aloka.

Although worship can mean different things to different people, to me it is a sign of submission to a power or being greater than oneself. I find it wildly unappealing. While humbleness is incredibly virtuous, submission implies a lot of negative things to me.

I don't even particularly care for rites and rituals of any kind, either. Partially out of some, probably misguided, anti-authoritarianism. Partially because I worry that if I was to set up these rites and rituals, being a creature of habit, I would become more focused on the acts themselves than what they represent.

Of course, if one can do these things without being attached to them than, by all means, go for it.

andyrobyn
27 Apr 12, 01:21
I find the ritual helpful and enriching to my practice rather than diverting attention it adds to concentration and focus in a positive way.

I do not have a negative relationship with the idea of authority and authority figures. I think my mother and early childhood experiences was a positive factor in that I was not introduced to one organised religion as a superior idea.

Bgood
27 Apr 12, 01:45
I don't even particularly care for rites and rituals of any kind, either. Partially out of some, probably misguided, anti-authoritarianism. Partially because I worry that if I was to set up these rites and rituals, being a creature of habit, I would become more focused on the acts themselves than what they represent.

Of course, if one can do these things without being attached to them than, by all means, go for it.


I think several, liberal forms of ritual are always happening in our lives. Replacing negative "rituals" which the chattering mind repeats everyday with more positive rituals such as meditation and intentional prayer (like the Boddhisattva Vow) is the pro-active way of creating good karma for one's self and gradually all of life.

Yet, I see where you are coming from in regards to religious obligation or mindless redundancy. If true awareness is not present in the ritual, then it is not beneficial for you. Thanks for sharing.

Bgood
27 Apr 12, 01:55
I find the ritual helpful and enriching to my practice rather than diverting attention it adds to concentration and focus in a positive way.

Many Eastern rites and rituals like Meditation,Yoga,Tantra and symbolic ceremonies definitely help us in adhereing to the Eight Fold Path. Ritualization is our disipline and practice. In a sense, I think it is the most important part of following the Buddha. Without practice, how can we become an Enlightened One?

Johnny Panic
27 Apr 12, 02:03
I think several, liberal forms of ritual are always happening in our lives. Replacing negative "rituals" which the chattering mind repeats everyday with more positive rituals such as meditation and intentional prayer (like the Boddhisattva Vow) is the pro-active way of creating good karma for one's self and gradually all of life.


Hmmm...I guess I never thought of meditation or the bodhisattva vow as a ritual. But I can see how it would be. On one hand, mediation is a religious action, one that is intentionally done in the same (or a similar) way, repeatedly. Almost like prayer, I suppose. On the other hand, one could say it is more of just an action one does because it is beneficial. Like how I probably need a car to get to work, I probably need to meditate to clear my mind.

I'd wager that it's all pretty much semantics. Good point, Bgood.

Esho
27 Apr 12, 04:45
2 cents,

Gotama's teachings never advised to undertake rites and rituals or to worship understood as a humiliation but rites and rituals appeared with the outcome of traditions.

Seems to me, at the risk of being wrong, that rites, rituals and worshiping became more and more important as traditions evolved from Theravada to Mahayana and beyond.

Not pretending to judge this but to understand this fact it looks like worshiping is a central aspect in some traditions and for some practitioners just because they have adopted them and it is central due to a kind of cohesive element needed to maintain a coherent practice in a given Sangha.

It also seems that for those that practice not through a tradition but directly from Gotama teachings do not need the aid of rite, ritual and worshiping.

But, for example, the case of Soto Zen is highly ritualistic. Manners, gestures, symbols, movements are ways to tame the mind, to settle it and to prepare it to wise discernment and an aid for recollection.

The aspect of worship as an act of surrender can be appreciated from a different approach as a recognition of an ultimate truth; a bigger truth than that hold by selfness or the idea of a self.

When one has given up the idea of a self, IMO, there is surrender. Personal experience when first the Four Noble Truths were "touched" and truly understood, a sort of surrendering happend. To give up all the burden of misconceptions stored in the mind from years of accumulated ignorance necessarily leads to prise deeply the word of Gotama Buddha touching the delicate line of devotional feeling.

;D

Aloka
27 Apr 12, 07:26
Somehow I think the Buddha of the Pali Canon might have been very surprised if he had seen some of the 'Buddhist' rites and rituals which are performed today. This is how he described those with insight:



10. With his gaining of insight he abandons three states of mind, namely self-illusion, doubt, and indulgence in meaningless rites and rituals, should there be any. He is also fully freed from the four states of woe, and therefore, incapable of committing the six major wrongdoings.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.01.piya.html

andyrobyn
27 Apr 12, 08:10
Somehow I think the Buddha of the Pali Canon might have been very surprised if he had seen some of the 'Buddhist' rites and rituals which are performed today. This is how he described those with insight:

I guess he might have ... my response to your idea, Aloka-D, is that I doubt that he would harbour such thoughts though.
Also, the relevant point that has been made already about some of the rites and rituals involved in practice for some of us are that they are not indulged in nor meaningless whilst also not being the practice ( I do understand that this can easily be misunderstood ).

Aloka
27 Apr 12, 08:21
I guess he might have ... my response to your idea, Aloka-D, is that I doubt that he would harbour such thoughts though

Well...my comment and your comment afterwards are both completely speculative, lol !


Also, the relevant point that has been made already about some of the rites and rituals involved in practice for some of us are that they are not indulged in nor meaningless

To be honest, in my own experience, some of the Tibetan rites and rituals I took part in years ago, now seem like something quite strange that I did in another lifetime - but 'each to their own' as the saying goes. ;)

srivijaya
27 Apr 12, 08:32
Without worship, humility is lacking and the ego is excessive.

Ritualization is our disipline and practice.
Hi Bgood,
I disagree with the basic premise behind these two statements. Firstly, worship does not guarantee an ego-free person. One who bows before his superiors may feel inclined to expect similar deference from those he deems his inferiors. He may also become hardened in his opinions towards those who do not share his devotions.

Second point: Ritual alone is meaningless. Even within tantra there is the completion stage, which is beyond the strictures of ritual. A person may be satisfied that they have done their 'duty' or kept their 'vows' by engaging in daily ritual but have they observed body and mind or entered deeper meditative states?

Ritual does not, of itself, facilitate this and may even function as a convenient replacement.

That said, if we can consider 'worship' as a form of self-abandonment / relinquishment, then it may be of some value. Anything which helps us release our self-grasping is helpful; emptiness, relinquishment, or a locus of indivisible bliss and emptiness.
:hands:

andyrobyn
27 Apr 12, 09:11
Well...my comment and your comment afterwards are both completely speculative, lol !

:cheers:, indeedy.


To be honest, in my own experience, some of the Tibetan rites and rituals I took part in years ago, now seem like something quite strange that I did in another lifetime - but 'each to their own' as the saying goes. ;)

Sometimes when you speak of your past experience it reminds me of when I hear people discussing their experience of Catholicism - mine has been very different.

Aloka
27 Apr 12, 09:23
Sometimes when you speak of your past experience it reminds me of when I hear people discussing their experience of Catholicism - mine has been very different

Water is a nuturing home environment for a fish, something to drink for a large land animal - and can result in drowning for a small creature falling into it.

Different strokes for different folks. ;D

JadeRabbit
27 Apr 12, 11:38
To give up all the burden of misconceptions stored in the mind from years of accumulated ignorance necessarily leads to prise deeply the word of Gotama Buddha touching the delicate line of devotional feeling.

Beautiful. Your words are pure poetry. :hands:

Aloka
28 Apr 12, 05:38
Returning to the topic of worship again, this is a quote from Ajahn Sumedho in his book "The Sound of Silence"




Don't put Buddha-Dharma on a pillar on a shrine and worship it there.

A shrine, like a Buddha-rupa in a temple, is merely for reminding, for reflection, not for your projections.





.

andyrobyn
28 Apr 12, 05:54
I like this thought on the expression of spiritual practice, from the book I am reading this weekend - Jack Kornfield ' A Path with Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life '.

" We must begin with ourselves. The universal truths of spiritual life can come alive only in our personal circumstances. This personal approach to practice honours the timeless and mysterious dance of birth and death, and also our particular body, our particular family and community, the personal history and the joys and sorrows that have been given to us. In this way, our awakening is a very personal matter that also affects all other creatures on earth ".