• Most Buddhist devotions are not performed in a temple, instead people have a place of worship in their homes
  • The temple is usually reserved for important celebrations
  • Puja – showing reverence for holy beings by bowing, making offering and chanting (e.g. showing reverence for a Bodhisattva – a person who has attained Nirvana but chooses to be reborn to help others on their path to enlightenment)
  • Buddists bow 3 times before the Buddha in recognition of the 3 Refuges – the Buddha, the dharma (the path) and the sangha (companions and teachers)
  • Flowers are often used as an offering because they fade and wilt – represents impermenence
  • Lighting a candle or lamp is symbolic of Buddha’s enlightenment

Meditation

  • Meditation leads to wisdom, which leads to the end of suffering
  • Purpose of meditation is to improve concentration, calm the mind, and clear the mind of improper thoughts (greed, hatred, ignorance)
  • Meditation is an essential practice for nuns, monks, lay people and novices (nuns and monks in training)
  • Leads to insights into truth, inner peace, which turn into compassion and humility
  • But, you need the right environment and practices:
  • Lotus posture – crossed legs and hands – hands on feet, feet on top of thighs
  • Back is straight
  • Tounge touches the back of the upper front teeth
  • Eyes are downcast and partially closed
  • Concentrates on breathing and the movement of the diaphram
  • Focus on an idea or object

Mantras

  • Symbolic phrases chanted by Buddhists, e.g. “Om Mani Padme Hum”, or “Hail, the jewel in the lotus” is the mantra of Avlokiteshvara, a Bodhisattva of compassion and protector from danger
  • Anyone who recites this will be saved from all dangers

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