Is there any rule to prostrations?

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Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Sonrisa » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:45 pm

Are prostration styles exclusively particular among certain schools? For example, even though I practice Mahayana and not Vajrayana, I really like the Tibetan prostrations. When I do these, I feel sincerity with my whole body (and mind).

Or should I receive an empowerment to do a certain prostration?
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:15 pm

Hi Sonrisa,

No, you don't need to receive an empowerment to do prostrations.

Yes, different Buddhist schools do prostrations differently. For example, Zen Buddhists have their own style of prostrations which is different than the Tibetan one. I've heard that Shingon Buddhists also do prostrations, but I'm not sure if they have their prostration style or not.

So, don't worry about anything. If you feel devotion to the Three Jewels, Bodhisattvas, or your own buddha-nature, prostrate away!
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:30 pm

To add to the excellent comment already posted..... schools of Tibetam Buddhism do have specific trainings for those that want to specialize in this thing. Contact your local school to see if a lama may offer this training of you want to focus on this or use it for a particular aim. It is not to involved but if that is to be your focus you may want to explore that training. Do not try to pursue this online, as it should be taught directly

But as the other poster mentioned just doing them, is quite fine to do. You may consider a hand prayer wheel which is also very useful for that type of thing. A small device held in the hand which has mantra of good will within. When the wheel is spun by moving the hand gently good will is spread throughout the realm. So that may be nice to explore as well with a lama. It is especially useful if one has a busy mind and is on a bus or some such doing not much of anything the spiritual can be brought into play.
Like with prostrations one could just purchase one and do it...but a teacher may be helpful to display it in proper context.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby BFS » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:53 pm

Couple of videos about prostrations with Venerable Thubten Chodron







more about Venerable, and the Abbey


http://www.thubtenchodron.org/SravastiAbbey/index.html
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby lisehull » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:05 pm

I was at an empowerment this weekend and was rather startled when the sangha (I am a member of another center) leapt up and did vigorous prostrations when the lama entered the shrine room. The day of the empowerment they did NOT do this, just the day of the teachings.
Can anyone explain this disparity and why they seemed so frenetic about it?
:thanks:
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Jikan » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:23 pm

Sonrisa wrote:Are prostration styles exclusively particular among certain schools?


Japanese style prostrations are significantly different physically. I've done a lot of both and, frankly, the Tibetan style prostrations make more sense to me ergnomically.

I know some Korean schools do prostrations extensively but I'm not certain how it's done.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:01 pm

Lise

Just to venture a plausible....they had not completed a particular series of prostrations for a particular aim or ceremony, due to some time constraints in the prior meeting and the lama told them they could complete them before starting the other next one.....so they did.

Some ceremony subsequent to prostrations may be I think quite involved and long. Say doing prostrations for each and every of 52 dieties may make for a lot of prostrations and time,

I'd say almost invariably the lama had them do that for some specific purpose or reason.
You should have asked them... :?:
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Bodhi » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:24 pm

I like all kinds and styles of prostration because each have its own meaning therefore all styles of prostration came from sincerity. Do what you feel most comfortable with.
Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be. Always be mindful, and be your own master. This is true freedom. - Grand Master Wei Chueh
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby lisehull » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:37 pm

Hi Ronne, I will do as you suggest and ask. As I was at the empowerment, which was the ceremony prior to the teachings (on how to do the practice associated with the empowerment) which began with their prostrations, I sure the lama didn't say anything about prostrations at that time. I shall ask someone and report back with a response, assuming I get some clarity :namaste:
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby catmoon » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:34 am

Did I mention I taught my cat to do prostrations?

Trouble is, she doesn't like the getting back up part. So she just prostrates, curls up and has a nap.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Astus » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:13 pm

"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby lisehull » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:20 pm

From what I have been told, the sangha in attendance at the center I visited on the weekend did their prostrations for their lama as a measure of respect, and not for any other ceremonial reason.
This is interesting to me because the lamas at the center where I am a member prefer not to have prostrations done to them. Apparently, they believe the prostrations are best done to the Buddha and perhaps other dignitaries. They are both Americans and not Asian, which evidently plays a role in this decision.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:43 pm

Huh...interesting..

The temple I attend (sometimes) has a Tibetan lama and all do three prostrations at the same time, but not full prostrations, upon entrance of the lama or other teaching lama to the shrine room prior to the teachings. No one sits till the lama sits and when the lama concludes all stand until he leaves the shrine room. Hands in prayer position with head down.

Every full days session is preceeded by a period of group prayers and mantra also.

So it varies. Retreat house I have attended also by tibetan lamas everyone does 3 prostrations prior to the begining of anything. Not all at the same time though as their shrine room is very small. They enter room do prostrations(not full) and then stand until lama enters and sits, generally.

There are no exceptions however in both places(except for the infirmed) prostrations are always done.....in retreat house however lama may not be in the room when they are done. In temple always, morning and afternoon but not after breaks.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby remm » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:50 am

Sonrisa,

Please feel free to read this when you have time. :smile:

It is an excellent talk given by Venerable Master Hua on the seven types of bowing in Mahayana.

http://www.cttbusa.org/bowing/bowing.asp
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Heruka » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:04 am

lisehull wrote:From what I have been told, the sangha in attendance at the center I visited on the weekend did their prostrations for their lama as a measure of respect, and not for any other ceremonial reason.
This is interesting to me because the lamas at the center where I am a member prefer not to have prostrations done to them. Apparently, they believe the prostrations are best done to the Buddha and perhaps other dignitaries. They are both Americans and not Asian, which evidently plays a role in this decision.
Lise



situations and conditions may arise where it is correct to do so, other times not. often the lama has spent sometime prior to the blessing to open mandala and invite the yidam, buddhas prepare the ground, space and time etc, if this is done in small setting then offerings of mandalas, prostrations, pujas offerings, sang or serkyem and so forth would make great sense, however in large groups this is just not workable.

empowerments can be sublime, simple, very simple, complex and very elborate.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:01 am

lisehull wrote:I was at an empowerment this weekend and was rather startled when the sangha (I am a member of another center) leapt up and did vigorous prostrations when the lama entered the shrine room. The day of the empowerment they did NOT do this, just the day of the teachings.
Can anyone explain this disparity and why they seemed so frenetic about it?
:thanks:
Lise


Devotion to the Guru, the Embodiment of the Buddha.
Buddhas disciples (and even gods) used to prostrate themselves before the Bhagavan before he gave a discourse. It only makes sense.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby lisehull » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:39 pm

I think the thing that bothered me was the frantic nature of the group, as if it was more about worship than prostrating to the Buddha.
However, I will give some thought to that suggestion.
:thanks:
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:12 pm

lisehull wrote:I think the thing that bothered me was the frantic nature of the group, as if it was more about worship than prostrating to the Buddha.
However, I will give some thought to that suggestion.
:thanks:
Lise


It may also have been simple anxiety to do the right thing at the right time, and not to err on the side of informality. Formal situations can lead to curious group dynamics.
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Re: Is there any rule to prostrations?

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:34 pm

But what we see as strange, we see because we dont have a link with that teacher (or those outside our lineages)

If you literally see your guru (whoever that may be!) as nothing apart from Shakyamuni Buddha, it would open our minds to the ability to delve head first to the floor and praise the Tathagata.
That, I believe, is the point of Guru Yoga, see the teacher as inseperable from the essential nature of the Buddhas of the three times.
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