name given to the wide variety of devotional and offering
ceremonies practiced in all Buddhist
traditions. The word itself comes from the root meaning
'a flower' while pujas themselves probably developed from
the custom of offering the Buddha
flowers on his arrival in a particular place during his
travels. The earliest pujas, still practiced in Theravada,
consisted of placing flowers, lights and incense in front
of a symbol or image of the Buddha.
value of the practice is that it grows out of and reinforces
faith and devotion which are considered positive emotions
able to motivate and enhance one's practice of the Dhamma.
In Mahayana pujas are often long and elaborate and in some
cases believed to have a magical power. The Tantrayana
has a wide variety of very elaborate pujas, some meant
to be expressions of devotion others to induce wealth,
long life, help from the gods and also spiritual qualities.