Buddhist Rituals And Buddhist Ritual Items

Buddhist Rituals And Buddhist Ritual Items

Buddhist rituals have been significant part of Buddhism since the time of Buddha. Buddhist rituals express many dimensions of our human aspects and situation including our relationships and also our spiritual life. If Buddhist rituals are preformed whole-heartily, they help us to discover and express some of our deepest feelings and aspirations. Buddhist rituals have much in common with prayer, including how they impact participants. Buddhist rituals can strengthen and highlight the values, intentions, and experiences we have chosen to live by.

Most importantly, Buddhist rituals strengthen the connection between Dharma and mankind. It also to give better knowledge on intention, respect, understanding, community, and experiential dimension associated with the Dharma.  Feeling of stronger connection to the Dharma can be meaningful in and of itself; it can also fuel a person’s practice when it is challenging to do.

Buddhist ritual items and art convey the way art function in traditional Buddhist altar. All the Buddhist ritual objects are used in religious rites and mostly are related to Tibetan implements. Objects such as Bell and Vajra, prayer wheels, Butter lamps, Ritual conch shells, Prayer Flags, Phurba, Incense Sticks, Offering bowls, Damaru, and many more are the repertoire of ritual items used in Buddhism. Each ritual object has its specific importance in Buddhism.

Different Buddhist Rituals Items

Bell and VajraBell and Vajra– Bell and Vajra (Dorje) are the ritual implements used together that represents the inseparability of wisdom and compassion. While bell is held in the left had represents female element of wisdom and Dorje held in right represents the male element of skillful means along with compassion of the Buddha. During the chanting of the mantras the Bell and Dorje are used together in a variety of different ritualistic ways to represent the union of the male and female principles.

Prayer WheelPrayer Wheels– Prayer Wheels are the most common prayer instrument among the Buddhist. They bear mystical word OM MANE PADME HUM numbering six syllables in the mantra. The syllables are carved outside the wheel as well as kept inside written on the paper in numerous numbers. The prayer wheels may be small and carried by pilgrims, or larger and fixed to the gates of monasteries or around Stupas and Chortens. Each turn of the prayer wheel generates as much merit as the reading of the Sutra or the formula enclosed therein. A prayer wheel has tremendous power to eliminate the self-cherishing mind that keeps us from realizing perfect Bodhichitta and thus reaching enlightenment.

butter lampButter Lamps– It is said offering light from the flame of Butter Lamp is the most powerful offering because their light symbolizes wisdom and awakened mind. The butter lamps are used in every Tibetan temples, monasteries, household and altars. They are traditionally burned with ghee butter. Butter lamps are usually made of silver, copper, brass or white metal.

Sankha Conch ShellSankha (Conch Shell) – Sankha or Conch Shell is also known as an offering vessel. The Sankha has its ritual and religious significance in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Sankha is one of the eight auspicious signs, the Astamangala. The white Conch Shell of Sankha has survived as the original horn trumpet since time immortal. It is especially given as a symbol to the gods as the sound vibrated through a shell penetrates far and wide. The instrument is used to call monks to worship and may also be used to invoke water and rain. It’s a sign of good luck and stands for the absence of all evil as an attribute, symbolizing the glory of all holy men.

Prayer FlagPrayer Flags– There are two kinds of prayer flags, the horizontal ones called Lungta in Tibetan and the vertical ones called Darchor. Prayer Flags are inscribed with auspicious symbols, invocations, prayers, and mantras. It is believed that the prayers and mantras will be blown towards the heaven as offerings to their deities and will bring benefits to the one who hangs them, his neighborhood, and all sentient beings, even flying birds. Prayer flags are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity. Dharma prints bear traditional Buddhist symbols, protectors and enlightened beings. Old prayer flags are replaced with new ones annually on Tibetan New Year.

PhurbaPhurba– Phurba in Sanskrit is called the Kilaya or the Kila. The Phurba is also called ‘the magic dagger’. Padmasambhava used the Phurpa to consecrate the ground when he established the Samye monastery in the 8th century. This Ritual Buddhist Dagger or dart symbolizes the slaying or destruction of foe or obstructions. This ritual object is usually made of various clay, woods, metals or human or monkey bones or a combination which is considered a powerful element for driving away evil spirits, however wood and bone are also used and often required for certain ritual events. The lower part of the blade is said to represent “Method” while the handle “Wisdom”. These would have been two objects that were vital in the survival of people in these hash regions. The Phurpa is patterned after an ancient Vedic tool, a stake used to tether sacrificial animals. It is also regarded as a powerful weapon which subdues evil spirits and negative energies, transforming them into positive forces.

Offering bowlsOffering bowls– A set of seven offering bowls are traditionally set out on a Buddhist altar each day. They are placed on one’s shrine and filled with water daily as a way of accumulating virtue. Instead, the bowls are filled with objects that symbolize the traditional offerings of drinking and washing water, flowers, incense, light, perfume, food and music. The set of seven bowls are not simply bowls, they are powerful reminder of seven aspects of Buddha and represent ‘seven limb practice’ a method to purify negative tendencies and accumulating positive potential.

If  you would like to purchase various types of Buddhist ritual items, you can visit our store for handmade Buddhist Ritual Items.

Shakyamuni Buddha Relief Khalachakra copy

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