Wesley1982 wrote:Being conscious and aware of "idolatry" - are you sure that Buddhist worship is not worship of "gods" or "deities" ? . .
This has almost always been a historical reality for Buddhism in any country. The local pantheon is usually employed as guardians to some effect for the community, or failing that they are at least respected as neighbours.
It is undeniable that veneration of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at the common level is little different from worship of deities. This has always been the case. Quite often the Buddha is seen as a benevolent deity who will bestow blessings and worldly happiness upon those who would make offerings to him. Other figures among bodhisattvas likewise receive the same veneration with the expectation that they are deities who will assist people in real life towards worldly aims.
The idea is that you make offerings, say your prayers and expect some kind of divine influence to assist in achieving what you prayed for. This is the case all across the Buddhist world.
In that sense it isn't different from idol worship.
Actually, if you look at this thing called "Buddhism" as a broad far-reaching multifaceted "religion" in numerous parts of the world, much of it has historically been about idol worship and sorcery, not renunciation and liberation from samsara. Historically it has often been the case no matter the country that eminent monks were employed for their skills in medicine, astrology, divination and worldly sorcery (summoning rain or performing rites for the state or powerful individuals). At the grassroots level part of the reason people kept monks around as "fields of merit" was the expectation that supporting the sangha was essentially good luck and a blessing.
I know that is quite broad and general, but I think these patterns are to be found in most Buddhist countries across time.
However, all that being said, you need not engage in idol worship and sorcery, but simply pursue liberation as the Buddha originally intended. That is the difference between "Buddhism" and "Buddhadharma".