- 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 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
- 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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