On Sunday 10 April, Achariya Vijaya Samarawickrama gave a talk on ‘Rites & Rituals’, which is part of the BPS 033 Buddhist Devotional Practice course. He explained how rites and rituals evolved with human development and had an important role in binding communities culturally.
In Buddhism, rituals still have an important role to play, but they must be performed with intelligence. Those who carry out these rituals must know the history and meaning behind them. For example, Buddhists put their palms together when greeting each other or in prayer – during ancient times, this gesture was to openly show harmlessness and respect.
We must avoid falling into the trap of Sīlabbata-parāmāsa – the ‘attachment or clinging to rites and ritual’ –and performing them for their own sake. This is because rituals cannot save us if they do not help us improve in our mental qualities.
In Buddhism, the foundation of our practice is Sīla, Samādhi and Paññā. Rituals can help to create a sense of order, develop focus and promote respect among fellow practitioners, which will help to strengthen our practice. We thank Achariya Vijaya for his interesting talk. Sadhu anumodana.