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20 -26-3-2021 LESSON 3632 Buddha-Sasana-The Practice of Veneration
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 20 -26-3-2021 LESSON 3632 Buddha-Sasana-The Practice of Veneration

tipitaka pali canon (Theravada) ☸️

The Practice of Veneration
is a principal Sasana practice and always has been. It finds bodily and
verbal expression in a variety of conventional idioms and is
particularly associated in Buddhism with the Triple Refuge. It bears
similarities to worship, for instance in Abrahamic faiths, and is
thereby easily dismissed by the “spiritual but not religious” or strict
Path followers. It is for this reason I wish to stress here its
importance as a principal Buddhist practice. It belongs to what might be
called the “devotional” aspect of human behavior, deliberately evoking
an emotional quality of mind, and manifests, as we will see, in
sometimes wildly embellished forms in later traditions. Nonetheless,
veneration is rather simple in early Buddhism, with no metaphysical or
supernatural import.
in some form or another is almost as natural in human behavior as
smiling or frowning. It will spring forth of itself one way or another
in most areas of human discourse, and so to try to strip it away is only
to create something sterile, like trying to strip away hugging from
procreation. This is not to say we are smart about whom we venerate any
more than we are smart about whom we hug. Consider that the most common
objects of veneration in our culture are celebrities, such as bad actors
and robber barons, or consumer goods, such as iPods and
whiter-than-white laundry detergent. We attribute to our celebrities
fantastic wealth, sparkling charm and voluptuous sexuality, much as the
people of Buddha’s India attributed divinity to the great ascetics,
and cows, and we attribute to our recent purchases the capacity to
conjure up wondrous advantages. Veneration comes naturally, but, like
trust, can be either discerning or stupid.
practice of veneration works closely with Refuge to open the heart to
the influence of worthy teachers and teachings. One cannot learn from
someone one does not first hold in high regard. When we show proper
forms of respect to the elderly, school teachers, professors, piano
teachers and good cooks, we take seriously what they have to impart and
so open our minds to learn more quickly from them. Similarly we become,
for good or bad, subject to their authority. In the military explicit
forms of veneration, such as salutes and titles of respect, are used
effectively to imprint structures of command. A potential downside is
that veneration is sometimes similarly used or abused for social control
– for instance, requisite veneration of superior officers, judges or
the police – but again the watchword, as it always is in Buddhism, is
is a direct causal factor in attaining certain wholesome qualities of
mind that we try to develop in Buddhism in any case, including peace and
humility. The deference to another that veneration generally entails,
serves immediately to deflate the ego, to knock it out of its accustomed
privileged position in the universe. In fact this seems to me a basic
function of the worship of God in most religions. With the development
of humility, the craving to be somebody and to distinguish oneself as
that somebody, relaxes into a greater sense of ease. As the Buddha
states with respect to a particular practice of veneration,
a noble disciple recollects the Tathāgata, on that occasion his mind
is not obsessed by lust, hatred, or delusion; on that occasion his mind
is simply straight. He has departed from greed, freed himself from it,
emerged from it. … some beings here are purified in such a way.”26
passage is repeated in this sutta with each of “Dhamma,” “Sangha,” “his
[own] virtuous behavior” and “his [own] generosity” replacing
culture has its own expressions of veneration, such as the military
salute in ours, address through “sir” or “madam,” or putting an apple on
the teacher’s desk. Evidence of the importance accorded to physical and
verbal forms of veneration in Buddhism is found in the observation that
Buddhism has carried many of its originally culturally-conditioned
forms from India to every land in which Buddhism has taken root,
regardless of how dissimilar the culture. Most significant of these is
the bow, anjali in Sanskrit, a quite ubiquitous expression of respect or
greeting in its land of origin, produced by bringing the palms together
before the chest or face, sometimes combined with a complete
prostration. Japanese Zen master Suzuki Roshi, shortly after arriving in
San Francisco, was alarmed at the resistance his American students
displayed toward these bows, particularly toward the three full
prostrations, one for each of the three Refuges, that he asked of them
in the early morning. He accordingly adapted this practice to the West:
He required of his American students nine full prostrations, a custom
that has now endured for nearly half a century among his disciples.
is a form ritual conduct, as is shaking hands or wearing a tux to a
formal dinner party. Robert Sharf writes, “Ritual habituation inscribes
the self with a set of perceptual orientations, affective dispositions,
automatic responses that are precognitive.” It begins by enacting these
as if in play within an implicit frame of reference that one does not
have to believe in or acquiesce to any more than one believes in the
grammar of one’s mother tongue. To bow to the Buddha is to enact
veneration for the Buddha, to enact veneration of the Buddha is to feel
veneration for the Buddha, to feel veneration for the Buddha is to put
aside one’s preconceptions and open one’s heart to the teachings of the
Buddha. To do this is to align with the Buddha’s Path.27
short, veneration when brought together with discernment is a powerful
support for trust in what we seek on the Buddhist Path. Although its
expressions are culturally determined, its indispensable function in
Buddhist life and practice has been a bedrock of Buddhism throughout the
life and times of the Sasana. It also lends to Buddhism its most
devotional part, and is the focal point of sometimes extensive
embellishment in the later traditions, as we will see. Whether this
embellishment has been always helpful or even healthy will be a theme in
this book.
Sutta Chanting of Specific Verses of Tripitaka
Tathagat TV
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(Pali), generally translated as “protection” or “safeguard,” refers to
the Buddhist practice of reciting certain verses and scriptures in order
to ward off misfortune or danger, as well as to the specific verses and
discourses recited as paritta texts. The practice of #Reciting​ or listening to the paritta suttas began very early in the history of Buddhism
type of Paritta relies on the virtue of the individual who is ascribed
as reciting the paritta in the Canon, rather than making reference to
the virtues of the Buddha.
Sutta Chanting of Specific Verses of Tripitaka
#SUTTA (Pali), generally translated as “protection” or “safeguard,” ref



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