Rites and rituals are an essential part of Tibetan Buddhism and reflect its practical side. Not restricted to temples alone, they are performed in a variety of places and circumstances, including individual homes, for a myriad of purposes. Daily ceremonies are conducted in temples, although they are perhaps not so elaborate as those that take place in Hindu temples in India and Nepal.
Throughout the year, too, special rituals are performed to propitiate deities, to precipitate rain, to avert hailstorms, diseases, and death, to ensure good harvests, to exorcise demons and evil spirits, and of course to destroy the passions of the mind and, ultimately, the ego. All these practices-whether occult, magical, or shamanistic, require various implements which are as important as the images of the deities in whose service they are employed. Each such object is pregnant with symbolic meaning and is frequently imbued with magical power and potency.
Some of the important ritual items in Tibetan Buddhism are:
** The Vajra or Thunderbolt, also known in Tibetan as dorje
** The Bell, known in Sanskrit as the Ghanta, and in Tibetan as dril bu
** The Phurpa (Ritual Dagger)
** The Skull Cup, known as kapala in Sanskrit
** The Curved Knife or Chopper
** Kettles to Hold Sacred Waters
** Butter Lamps for Offering
** Skulls for Esoteric Tantric Practices
** Incense Holders
** Prayer Wheels (Hand-held and for the Altar)
** Gaus (Portable Shrines)
** Damaru (Double Drum)
Q1. What are some sacred objects in
used in or during the performance of rituals are the instruments of our
communication with God. This is why they are considered sacred. There are many
sacred objects used in Buddhism such as Prayer beads, Mandalas, Buddha or Bodhisattva
Stupas (the remains of Buddhist monks), Begging bowl, Monks’ robes, etc. These
objects or items are considered holy and are treated with great reverence.
Q2. How do you use Tibetan mala?
mala, like the prayer beads in other religions, is used to keep count of
repetitions of a sacred mantra. It has 108 small beads and a three-holed head
bead known as the “Guru” or “Buddha” bead. The chanter holds the mala in his
left hand and begins to recite from the Guru bead. To hold the bead, the index
finger and thumb are used. One recitation of the mantra is counted on each
bead, and in this way, repetitions are done by moving to other beads. Once the
Guru bead is reached again, it signifies the completion of one round.
objects do Tibetan Buddhists use in their worship?
Similar to the followers of the Vedic culture, Tibetan
Buddhists also use various ritual objects during their worship that play an
important role. These include Prayer Beads (Mala), Buddhist Prayer Bell, Dorje
(in the shape of a thunderbolt), Damaru or Tibetan Drum, Tibetan
Butter Lamp, Tibetan
Prayer Wheel, Shankha or the Conch Shell,
and the Ghau
Box. Each of these ritual items symbolizes or represents a certain aspect
of Tibetan Buddhism.
Q4. What are
the 5 major rituals in Buddhism?
Rituals play an important role in Buddhism and more
than that, the consciousness with which they are performed is also essential.
When a ritual is performed with love, devotion, faith, and commitment, it
becomes spiritual and the result is the purification of our hearts. The main
rituals performed by the followers of Buddhism are:
· Receiving blessings from an enlightened monk
· Taking a vow to walk the path of enlightenment and
to be kind and compassionate toward all living beings
· Making merit (performing charity, and following the
instructions of Lord Buddha)
· Bowing down before the Buddha
· Reciting Buddhist scriptures
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