Do Buddhists pray?
dont pray to a Creator God, but they do have devotional
meditation practices which could be compared to praying. Radiating
loving-kindness to all living beings is a practice which is
believed to benefit those beings. The sharing of merit is a
practice where one dedicates the goodness of ones life
to the benefit of all living beings as well as praying for a
Tibet prayer is going on most of the time. Tibetans pray in
a special way. They believe that when certain sounds and words,
called mantras, are said many times, they arouse good vibrations
within the person. If a mantra is repeated often enough it can
open up the mind to a consciousness which is beyond words and
Japan millions of Buddhists pray to Amida Buddha, the Buddha
of Infinite Light. They believe that Amida has created a Pure
Land in the west and that those who have faith and repeat Amidas
name in prayer will go there. Yet they also believe that Amida
is really within them.
How do you become a Buddhist?
one way being a Buddhist means belonging to a particular community
of people and following a path of life taught by the Buddhas
(enlightened beings). Members of the Buddhist community are
formally joined by taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma (the
teaching) and the Sangha (the community of noble disciples).
Centres and Temples - what is expected?
people are shy of visiting centres or temples because they think
they will be asked for money
b) they will be harassed about converting and followed up by
calls, spam email, and stuff like that.
the teaching of Buddhism is always free. Going along to a temple
is free and meditation teaching is usually free. The Buddhist
belief is that religion should be free, open and truthful. It
is a custom, if you go to a temple, to take a small offering
such as flowers or food. If you talk to a master for long periods,
you may wish to leave a small donation.
some activities - public talks, meditation courses, retreats
- a charge is made, because the expenses involved in organising
them can be substantial. If you have a strong interest and are
sincere but have a financial problem, this can be discussed
with the organisers. The teaching is not supposed to be denied
to people who lack financial accumulation.
is very, very rare for anyone to have people try to convert
them and almost unknown to have any sort of mail or email solicitation
(and I would stay away from any such temple). New students who
have only just discovered Buddhism tend to want to tell all
their friends how wonderful it is. Older students know everyone
has their own path and their own pace.
are human. There are a few bad organisations. It is obligatory
to answer truthfully questions concerning one's teachers and
lineage. The teachers one finds in Buddhist temples, especially
if they have been trained traditionally, overseas, are incredibly
qualified, with decades of experience. If a temple is open and
honest, if it is connected to the mainstream of Buddhist tradition,
then it is almost certainly okay. Cults are closed and secretive.
Trust your own judgment.
Why do Buddhists chant?
reminds one of the Dharma so that it is not forgotten; when
meditation is not possible and when bare mindfulness does not
give much consolation, it can be used to great advantage as
an extension of meditation into words to produce calm, some
peace within; and certainly, it expresses ones strong
confidence in the Dharma. Reciting the same chants day after
day also has an advantage - the making of wholesome repetitive
karma which of course will bear very good fruit.
What about Buddhist shrines and images?
shrine found in Buddhist homes or temples is a focal point of
Buddhist observances. At the centre of the shrine, there is
usually an image of the Buddha. This image may be made of a
variety of materials such as marble, gold, wood or even clay.
The image is a symbol that helps people to recall the qualities
of the Buddha.
shrine may also have such objects as a volume of Buddhist scriptures
to represent the Dharma. Some shrines may include other items
such as images, pictures or photographs of Buddhist monks and
masters to represent the Sangha. When a Buddhist stands before
a shrine, the objects he sees on it help him to recall the qualities
that are found in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This inspires
him to work towards cultivating these qualities in himself.
Why do Buddhists bow?
Buddhism, the traditional gesture of reverence to the Triple
Gem is to place the palms of both hands together and raise them
high in front, usually up to the level of the forehead. In order
to express deep veneration, a Buddhist may bow or prostrate
before the image of the Buddha, members of the Sangha and the
masters of the Teaching. When a Buddhist prostrates before an
image, he acknowledges the fact that the Buddha has attained
the perfect and supreme Enlightenment. Such an act helps the
Buddhist to overcome egoistic feelings and he becomes more ready
to listen to the Teaching of the Buddha.
Are there Buddhist holy places?
four holy sites as places of pilgrimage for Buddhists are Lumbini,
where the Buddha was born, Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha was enlightened
under the Bodhi tree; Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first
teaching of the Dharma; and Kusinagara, where the Buddha passed
What about Buddhist festivals?
festivals are always joyful occasions. Every May, on the night
of the full moon, Buddhists all over the world celebrate Vesak
for the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha such a
long time ago.
the Theravada tradition, practices observed by laypeople at
Vesak include the observance of eight precepts (the regular
five plus not taking food after midday and celibacy and not
over indulging in sleep). Also the laypeople may participate
in chanting and meditation and listening to sermons.
Thai villages people get ready during the day. They clean their
houses and hang up garlands of flowers. The men take clean sand
from the river bank and spread it over the temple courtyard,
where everyone walks with bare feet. Statues of the Buddha are
brought out of the temple to be washed and polished and all
the books come out to be dusted. When it is dark, the villagers
gather with candles or small oil lamps. The biggest Buddha statue
is put on a platform outside the temple and lights shine all
round it. Scented water is thrown onto it. Holding their lights,
everyone starts to move round the Buddha statue so that in the
end it is encircled with light.
non-Buddhist attend a Buddhist service?
perhaps even most, Buddhist temples welcome non-Buddhists. Larger,
more well-established temples often post announcements in local
newspapers as to their schedules of services. It is appropriate
to call ahead to ask whether visitors are welcome at a given
religious observance. Visitors are free to participate in communal
ritual as the wish. Major ritual activities include offering
incense, chanting texts from the Sutras or singing hymns, and
quiet meditation. Guests who choose not to participate should
observe in silence from the back or side of the temple.
What about Buddhist marriage ceremonies?
are prohibited from being marriage celebrants but they can "bless"
the couple by reciting the Dharma (chanting) after the secular
What is a Buddhist funeral like?
simple ceremony where the good deeds of the departed are remembered,
a Loving-kindness meditation can be done and a sharing of merits.
What is a Stupa?
the person who has died is a Buddha (enlightened one) or an
Arhant (saint) or an especially great teacher, relics are collected
after the cremation. These may be placed in a stupa or pagoda
(burial mound) or in a Buddha-rupa (image of the Buddha). Whenever
the Buddhist sees a stupa in the countryside or a Buddha-rupa
in a shrine room it is a reminder of the Dharma (teaching) and
it is honoured because of that.
by the team at BuddhaNet.Net)