Buddhism Customs

Since there are different types of Buddhism, there are different types of Buddhist customs. The major traditions include meditation, Buddhist worship, honoring the Buddha and the sacred mandala.

Devotion to Buddha

There are different ways to honor Buddha such as by offering gifts to Buddhist monks or to fellow Buddhists, going on pilgrimages, or becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk. Chanting is considered another form of devotion. In Mahayana Buddhism, one can choose the path of a bodhisattva, or "enlightened one," as the ultimate form of devotion. Accepting the Three Jewels is part of Buddhist devotion. The Three Jewels include the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, which is anyone who is a monastic practitioner or has attained to any one of the Four stages of enlightenment.

Buddhist Meditation

In Buddhism, the aim of meditation is to calm the mind so that it can become more aware. Meditation can take place individually or in a group. Chinese Buddhist meditation and Zen Buddhist meditation differ from Theravada Buddhism. Monks and lay people can practice meditation.

There are different forms of meditation. In the Noble Eightfold Path, the right concentration can be thought of as meditation. Once powerful concentration is achieved, the mind can gain insight into the nature of reality and be free from all suffering.

Worship

Worship, in Buddhism, can take place at a temple or at home before a set-up shrine. It can occur in the presence of a monk, in a group, or alone. In Buddhism, worship involves a mantra, a syllable, word, or prayer, which is spoken or displayed on a prayer wheel.

The Sacred Mandala

The sacred mandala is a visual of the universe that is painted, imagined, or created with colored sands. A mandala is used to help Buddhists reach Enlightenment.