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Part of the List of dharma_terms from the buddhist_ayurveda Course (skt220 ) on sanskrit_terms of ayurveda and dharma

= Bowing =


“The buddhist practice of bowing to the buddha . . . diminishes one's habits of self-importance, pride, and arrogance. It is also a good physical exercise that can make the body strong. . . .” (wm 38)

bowing is an important practice in buddhism. It involves a full prostration-the placing of the forehead, forearms, and knees on the ground in a total gesture of reverence and of worship. It is usually done before an image of the buddha, a bodhisattva, a sage, or before a holy text. It is a misconception, though, to think that the worshipper is bowing to a statue of the buddha, to a wooden or stone or clay image. The buddha we bow to is the buddha inside our true minds, the pure good, and perfect spiritual nature that has no shape or form. images of the buddha are simply symbols of the real thing.” (pds, Feb. 1984, p. 4)

seven ways to bow

“There are seven different ways that people bow to the buddha:

“1) The first is 'arrogant bowing', and describes a person who, although he or she bows to the buddha, still has a mark of a self. When someone like this bows to the buddha, it is forced and is accompanied by thoughts like this: 'What am I doing bowing to the buddha? Why do I have to bow to him?' A person like this becomes annoyed at being forced to put his head down. He sees everyone else bowing and feels that if he does not bow along with them, he will stand out, and so out of embarrassment he bows to the buddha. Although he bows, his mark of self is still not empty; on the contrary, he is filled with arrogance. . . .

“2) The second kind of bowing is called 'seeking for fame'. This category describes one who hears others praising a cultivator saying, 'That person bows often and really cultivates vigorously; he bows to the buddhas, he bows to sutras, and he bows repentance ceremonies. He is truly a diligent cultivator. Upon hearing the praise of this cultivator, he also wishes to be recognized as a cultivator, and so he begins vigorously bowing to the buddha. Although he finds pleasure in bowing, he does not truly bow to the buddha; he is bowing for recognition. He is seeking recognition as a cultivator, and the pleasure he finds is in that recognition and in his dreams of fame. . . .

“With the first, arrogant bowing, you see others bowing, and so you bow along, but you think to yourself, 'Oh, this is really superstitious. Of what possible use could it be?' The second, 'seeking for fame', is not performed because you believe or do not believe; you bow because you see someone else bowing and receiving offerings, respect and others' praise. Since you too wish to receive offerings, respect, and praise, you bow to the buddha.

“3) The third is called 'bowing with body and mind concurring'. . . . It describes a person who bows when he sees others bowing. In mindless imitation, both his body and his mind go along with what everyone else is doing. He doesn't have the slightest concern as to whether bowing to the buddha is beneficial or not, or whether it is reasonable or superstitious. You do not seek for recognition; you just follow along with everyone else, you body and mind concurring. This kind of bowing has no real benefits and no real faults.

“4) The fourth kind of bowing is called 'wise and pure'. 'Wise' refers to the functioning of wisdom, and 'pure' refers to the development of purity. It describes one who uses true wisdom to purify his body and mind. people who are wise use this method to bow to the buddha, and by doing so, they purify the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind.

“When someone uses this fourth method to bow to the buddha, his bodily karma is correct inasmuch as he does not kill, steal, commit sexual_misconduct, and so in this way his bodily karma is purified. When he uses this method to bow to the buddha, he entertains no thoughts of greed, hatred, or stupidity]], rather he possesses the wisdom born from single_minded]]ly and respectfully bowing to the buddha, and so his karma of mind also becomes pure. When someone bows to the buddha, he also recites the buddha's name, and by doing so, or by holding and reciting sutras and mantras, his mouth karma is also correct and devoid of any harsh speech, false_speech, irresponsible speech or duplicity and is thereby purified. When the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind are pure, this is called 'wise and pure bowing', with which one uses true wisdom to bow to the buddha.

“5) The fifth kind of bowing is called 'pervading everywhere throughout the dharma-realm'. . . . It describes one who, when bowing, contemplates: 'Although I have not yet become a buddha in body, the nature of my mind fills the dharma-realm. As I bow before this one buddha, I bow everywhere before all buddhas. I am not just bowing before one buddha; my transformation bodies bow before each buddha, simultaneously making offerings to all buddhas and bodhisattvas.'

“Consider that 'everything is made from the mind alone', and so one's mind totally pervades the dharma-realm (see entry). One's bowing practice totally pervades the dharma-realm. What is the dharma-realm? All of the great world_systems of a bil_lion worlds (see world_systems*) are contained within it. In fact, nothing is outside of the dharma-realm. With this kind of bowing, you contemplate your respectful bowing pervading everywhere throughout the dharma-realm. . . .

“6) The sixth is called 'sincerely cultivating proper contemplation.' One who cultivates proper concentration is one who concentrates his mind and contemplates: 'bowing to the buddha is bowing to the buddhas of the dharma-realm; bowing to the buddhas of the dharma-realm is just bowing to one buddha.' This is because 'all buddhas of the ten_directions and the three periods of time share one dharma_body in common, and all buddhas' lands and ways are identical.' A concentrated mind must be used to bow to the buddha, to contemplate the buddha, and to cultivate, so that you will not have polluted_thoughts.

“It is not considered to be proper concentration if when you are bowing, your mind runs off to the movies, or to the race track, or goes off hunting, or to a dance hall, a bar, or a restaurant. You need not purchase a ticket for your mind to travel off in all directions. With no travel arrangements at all, suddenly it is in the heavens, and suddenly it is on earth. Sometimes your mind will fly off to New York and then for no apparent reason, it comes back to san_francisco. You think, 'Oh, I was here bowing to the buddha and then I went to New York, only to fly back to san_francisco again. This must be a spiritual power!'

“In fact, that is not even a ghostly power, let alone a spiritual power. It is nothing more than polluted thought and is called deviant]] contemplation or improper contemplation. If you cultivate with proper contemplation, you will not have these polluted_thoughts. You would bow to the buddha with an undivided mind.

”'Sincerely cultivating' means that when you bow once, that surpasses one million bows made by someone who bows while having polluted_thoughts. And so in cultivating, 'when you reach the gate, you enter.' You should understand this dharma_door, because if you do not, then when you see others bowing to the buddha, you will not bow the way they do but instead will think, 'As soon as I'm finished bowing, I'm going to have a cup of coffee, or perhaps I'll have a drink.' people like that have no control over their minds, and after they have finished bowing, they run off to have a drink.

“The problem is not only do they themselves go out to have a drink, but they drag everyone else out with them. That is really pitiful. That is not 'cultivating purely with proper contemplation', but is a form of deviant]] contemplation, because if you have false thoughts while you are bowing, your worship is devoid of any merit and virtue.

“7) The seventh is called the 'true mark of impartial bowing'. It describes a person who bows and yet does not bow; who does not bow while he bows. When I say this, some of you are thinking, 'You say we should bow and yet not bow, and not bow and yet bow. Therefore, if I don't bow to the buddha, won't I be bowing to the buddha?' That is not what I mean. With this kind of bowing, although you bow to the buddha, you are not attached to a mark of bowing to the buddha. You cannot distort the meaning and say that while you are not bowing to the buddha, it counts as bowing to the buddha. One who speaks in that way is mentally disturbed.

“For example, recently someone told me he had attained the void. That is an extremely stupid thing to say. What is more, people like that cannot be helped, and there is no way to save them because their heavy attachment-nature makes them too stupid.

“The 'true mark of impartial bowing' means that 'I am bowing to the buddha, I am impartially bowing to the triple_jewel; I am reverent to the buddha, reverent to the dharma, and reverent to the sangha. Although I bow in this way, I, nevertheless, do not discriminate that I am bowing and 'not one thought is produced, nor is one thought destroyed'. This is the dharma of the 'true mark of impartial bowing'. It is a dharma which involves neither coming_into_being nor ceasing to be: 'When not even one thought arises, the entire substance appears.' When you bow to the buddha to the point that not even one thought is produced, you cause your body to manifest throughout the entire dharma-realm. Although your body is bowing here, it is the same size as the dharma-realm. This is just the true mark that has no mark. You bow until there are no people, no_self, no_living_beings, and no lifespan. You become one and the same substance with the dharma-realm. Your body is the dharma-realm; the dharma-realm is your body.

“Is this not wonderful? Before your body was just a speck on mount_sumeru, and mount_sumeru was the size of a dust-mote in the dharma-realm. But when your reach the point of the 'true appearance which has no appearance,' mount sumeru is contained within your dharma_body. You now contain mount_sumeru. Is this not wonderful? You contain absolutely everything; everything in the uni_verse is contained within your nature, and you understand everything. The true mark of impartial bowing is an inconceivable state. If you can reach this state while bowing to the buddha, can you then explain all of its wonderful aspects? No, they are ineffable.” (uw 19-23)

1) chinese: bai , li bai , ding li ; 2) sanskrit: vandana, vandaniya…; 3) pali abhivadeti; 4) Alternate translations: full prostration.

see_also: faith, repentance, confession, prostration, thirty-five_confession_buddhas, bowing, prostrations_to_the_35_buddhas, da_bei_chan

btts_references: wm 38-39; sv 57; uw 18-25; pdsseven Types of bowing: What Happens When people bow”; woh; TS.

A prostration (Pali: panipāta, Skt.: namas-kara, Ch.: li-pai, Jp.: raihai) is a gesture used in buddhist practice to show reverence to the triple_gem (comprising the Buddha, his teachings, and the spiritual community) and other objects of veneration.

Among Buddhists prostration is believed to be beneficial for practitioners for several reasons, including: *an experience of giving or veneration *an act to purify defilements, especially conceit *a preparatory act for meditation *an act that accumulates merit (see karma)

In contemporary Western Buddhism, some teachers use prostrations as a practice unto itself,<ref>See, for instance, Tromge (1995), pp. 87-96.</ref> while other teachers relegate prostrations to customary liturgical ritual, ancillary to meditation.<ref>See, for example, Aitken (1982), pp. 29-31, where he discusses such rituals as having a twofold purpose: “First, ritual helps to deepen our religious spirit and to extend its vigor to our lives. Second, ritual is an opening for the experience of forgetting the self as the words or the actions become one with you, and there is nothing else.” (p. 29).</ref>

Prostrations may also be subsumed within sadhana repetitions of various vinyasa forms of yogic discipline, such as trul_khor, eg. Importantly, vinyasa forms were directly influenced from Buddhist 'impermanence' (anitya) as was the language of patanjali's yoga_sutras informed by Buddhist discourse.

Theravada Buddhism

In the pali_canon, laypersons prostrating before the then-living Buddha is mentioned in several suttas.<ref>Khantipalo (1982). In addition to making this general statement, Khantipalo quotes an example of lay people prostrating before the Buddha from the kalama_sutta (AN 3.65).</ref> In theravada_buddhism, as part of daily practice, one typically prostrates before and after chanting and meditation. On these occasions, one does typically prostrates three times: once to the Buddha, once to the dhamma, and once to the sangha. More generally, one can also prostrate before “any sacred object of veneration.”<ref>Indaratana (2002), p. v.</ref>

Theravada Buddhists execute a type of prostration that is known as “five-point veneration” (Pali: patitthitapanca) or the “five-limbed prostration” (Pali: pañc'anga-vandana) where the two palms and elbows, two sets of toes and knees, and the forehead are placed on the floor.<ref>Indaratana (2002), p. v. Khantipalo (1982).</ref> More specifically:

... In the kneeling position, one's hand in añjali [palms together, fingers flat out and pointed upward] are raised to the forehead and then lowered to the floor so that the whole forearm to the elbow is on the ground, the elbow touching the knee. The hands, palm down, are four to six inches apart with just enough room for the forehead to be brought to the ground between them. Feet are still as for the kneeling position and the knees are about a foot apart....<ref name="Khantipalo 1982">Khantipalo (1982).</ref>

In Thailand, traditionally, each of the three aforementioned prostrations are accompanied by the following pali verses:<ref name=“Khantipalo 1982”/> <center> <table cellspacing=“10”> <tr> <td>'First Prostration'</td> <td style=“border-left:1px solid #AAAAAA;border-right:1px solid #AAAAAA”> Araham samma-sambuddho bhagava<br />Buddham bhagavantam abhivademi. </td> <td>The Noble One, the fully Enlightened One, the Exalted One,<br />I bow low before the Exalted Buddha.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>'Second Prostration'</td> <td style=“border-left:1px solid #AAAAAA;border-right:1px solid #AAAAAA”> Svakkhato bhagavata dhammo<br />Dhammam namassami. </td> <td>The Exalted One's well-expounded Dhamma<br />I bow low before the Dhamma.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>'Third Prostration'</td> <td style=“border-left:1px solid #AAAAAA;border-right:1px solid #AAAAAA”> Supatipanno bhagavato savakasangho<br />sangham namami. </td> <td>The Exalted One's Sangha of well-practiced disciples<br /> I bow low before the Sangha.</td> </tr> </table> </center>

In Theravadin countries such as Sri Lanka, when one goes before one's teacher, in order to “open one's mind up to receive instructions,” one bows and recites the phrase, “Okāsa ahaṃ bhante vandāmi” (“I pay homage to you venerable sir”).<ref>Bhikkhu Bodhi (2006), Sn 2.9 Kiṃsīla Sutta — Right Conduct (lecture) at time 25:20, available as “Sn032” (mp3) from “Bodhi Monastery” at http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about-buddhism/audio/903-audio/84-sutta-nipata.html. Before a nun (as opposed to a monk), one would presumably use ayye instead of bhante.</ref>

Mahayana Buddhism

<table><tr><td style=“vertical-align:top”> In zen_buddhism, both half- and full-prostrations are used. Zen master Robert Aitken writes: The Zen student is taught that in ''raihai'' [prostration] one throws everything away. Pivoting the forearms on the elbows and raising the hands [palms up] while prostrated is the act of raising the Buddha's feet above one's head.<ref>Aitken (2002). See a similar statement in Aitken (1982), p. 30.</ref>

Roshi philip_kapleau writes: The act of unself-conscious prostration before a Buddha is ... possible under the impetus of reverence and gratitude. Such "horizontalizings of the mast of ego"<ref>Here Kapleau is referencing a letter by 14th c. Rinzai Zen master [[Bassui Tokushō]] to a layman: "As for the practice of bowing down before the Buddhas, this is merely a way of horizontalizing the mast of ego in order to realize the Buddha-nature" (Kapleau, 1989a, pp. 182-183).</ref> cleanse the heart-mind, rendering it flexible and expansive, and open the way to an understanding and appreciation of the exalted mind and manifold virtues of the Buddha and patriarchs. So there arises within us a desire to express our gratitude and show our respect before their personalized forms through appropriate rituals.<ref>Kapleau (1989a), p. 21.</ref>

Ninth-century Zen master Huang Po is said to have done prostrations so intensely that he wore a permanent red mark on his forehead.<ref>Kapleau (1989b), p. 192.</ref>

</td><td style=“margin-left:2%; margin-top:3%; margin-bottom:3%; margin-right:0%; background:#FFD060; border:2px solid #FF4500; font-size:100%”>

<center>'An American in Dokusan'</center> <div style=“margin-left:1%; margin-right:1%”> Zen master phillip_kapleau recounts his first stay in “a real Zen monastery”:

How well, too, I remember the first time I came before my teacher in [[dokusan]]. As you know, it is customary to prostrate oneself before the [[roshi]] as a sign of respect and humility. But how that went against my grain, and how I resisted it! "... [W]hat does all this have to do with Zen?" My teacher, well aware of these thoughts within me, said nothing, viewing my frustrated maneuvers at each dokusan with an amused smile. Then one day, when I was having a more awkward time than usual trying to prostrate, he suddenly shot at me, "Kapleau-san, when you make prostrations in dokusan you are not bowing down before me but before your own [[Buddha-nature]]."<ref>Kapleau (1989b), p. 191.</ref> </div></td></table>

Vajrayana Buddhism

thumb|280px|[[Buddhist pilgrimage|Pilgrims prostrating at the jokhang, lhasa]] In vajrayana_buddhism, prostrations are often performed before meditation or teachings, but can form a separate practice by itself. Prostrations are seen as a means of purifying ones body, speech and mind of karmic defilements, especially pride.<ref>Tromge (1995), p. 87.</ref> Prostrations are used in tandem with visualization and can be used to express reverence to guru_rinpoche<ref>Tromge (1995), pp. 88-9.</ref> and others.

For example, in the context of offering homage to Guru Rinpoche, prostrations are to be performed as follows:

...Bring your hands together in the 'lotus bud' [[mudra]] (the base of the palm and the fingertips together, and thumbs slightly tucked in) and place them on the crown of the head, then to the throat and heart. As you place your hands on your crown, you offer homage to Guru Rinpoche's enlightened body, purify defilements and obscurations incurred through the avenue of your body, and establish the potential to realize [[nirmanakaya]]. At your throat, you offer homage to his enlightened speech, and establish the potential to realized [[sambhogakaya]]. Bringing your hands to your heart, you offer homage to his enlightened mind, purify your mind's obscurations, and establish the potential to realize [[dharmakaya]]. The actual prostration is performed by dropping the body forward and stretching it full length on the floor, the arms outstretched in front.... Again, with hands in the lotus bud mudra, bend your arms back and touch your hands to the top of your head, a gesture that acknowledges the blessing flowing from Guru Rinpoche. Then stretch your arms out once more and push yourself up.... Bring your hands into the lotus bud mudra for the third time and touch your heart in a gesture of reverence. Then, with a smooth motion, bring your hands to your crown and perform the next prostration....<ref>Tromge (1995), pp. 94-5.</ref>

This type of prostration is often done 3, 7, 21, or 108 times. A prostration mala can be used to facilitate counting.<ref>Tromge (1995), p. 95.</ref>

This form of prostration is used with enlightened beings other than Guru Rinpoche as well.

Prostrations done in large numbers (like 100,000) can be part of the preliminary practices to the practice of tantra. Other practices like this can be reciting the Refuge prayer, mandala offerings, vajrasattva mantras and other practices called ngoendro.

See also

*householder_buddhism *puja_buddhism *gadaw, a Burmese form of paying obeisance




*Aitken, Robert (1982). Taking the Path of Zen. NY:North Point Press. ISBN 0-86547-080-4.

*Aitken, Robert (2002). “Formal Practice: Buddhist or Christian” in Buddhist-Christian Studies (2002), Vol. 22, pp. 63-76. Available on-line at: http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Miscellaneous/FormalPractice.htm

*Indaratana Maha Thera, Elgiriye (2002). Vandana: The Album of Pali Devotional Chanting and Hymns. Penang, Malaysia:Mahindarama Dhamma Publication. Available on-line at: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/vandana02.pdf.

*Kapleau, Phillip (1989a). The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice and Enlightenment. NY: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-26093-8.

*Kapleau, Philip (1989b). Zen: Merging of East and West. NY:Anchor Book. ISBN 0-385-26104-7.

*Khantipalo, Bhikkhu (1982). Lay Buddhist Practice: The Shrine Room, Uposatha Day, Rains Residence (The Wheel No. 206/207). Kandy, Sri Lanka:Buddhist Publication Society. Also transcribed (1995) and available on-line at: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khantipalo/wheel206.html.

*Tromge, Jane (1995). Ngondro Commentary: Instructions for the Concise Preliminary Practices of the New Treasure of Dudjom / compiled from the teachings of His Eminence Chagdud Tulku. Junction City, CA:Padma Publishing. ISBN 1-881847-06-3.

*[http://www.tew.org/archived/holy.quest.html A Holy Quest in Tibet: Prostrate, and Miles to Go] *[http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma7/bowing.html Buddhist Bowing as Comtemplation] *[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na7Zd_g7xVY Buddhism: Prostrations (video)] [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI4xHU44P3o Buddhism: Prostrations Part II (video)] by Ven thubten_chodron *[http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=16185&t=1 Prostrating from Tibet to India] *[http://zencast.wordpress.com/2006/12/30/prostrations-a-buddhist-excersice-program/ Prostrations: A Buddhist Exercise Program] *[http://www.kalachakra.org/articles/prostration.shtml Tibetan Prostration (animation)]

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About Medicine Buddha Healing Center

about_us: clinic and ayurveda_healing_arts_institute of medicine_buddha_healing_center • The most comprehensive Clinical multimedia audio and video-based Buddhist Ayurvedic Distance Learning Program on the Planet — from introductory 225-Hour clinical_ayurveda_therapist (CAT) to most advanced 3200-Hour doctorate_of_ayurveda (PhD). No One Turned Away Due to Lack of Funds (dana_paramita - Perfecting Generosity) • MP3 recordings of over 2000 Patient Consultations for Clinical Experience. Searchable database of photographs of tongue_diagnosis and ipod-ipad-iphone compatible audio files of our Ayurveda client visits. (see cln301)

Ayurveda-Berkeley.com | www.Ayurveda-California.com www.Ayurveda-School.net | www.Ayurveda-TCM.com http://ayurveda-tcm.com/ayurvedic-chinese-medicine-distance-learning www.Nalanda-University.com | www.BhaisajyaGuru.com


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