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Practice and Belonging
• Worship at temple not as important as at
home – usually a shrine at home
• Worship is not mandatory, but thought to
build good karma
• On full moon days and festivals might go
• Formal services consist of chanting beliefs
and scriptures
• Meetings start with reciting the Three Refuges:
– I go to the Buddha for my refuge
– I go to the dharma (teaching) for my refuge
– I go to the sangha (Buddhist community) for my
• Group meditation
• A monk might preach and sermon
• Candles lit, incense burned – socialize
afterwards with monks, or continue to meditate
• Many Buddhist are vegetarian –
recommended as animals are part of the
samsara cycle
• Prayer is for finding focus in their mind, not
to pray to God – don’t pray to Buddha
– Takes form of meditation
• Marriages, births and deaths largely follow
local customs – might involve blessings
from monks
• Most important religious festival
• Celebrates the life of the Buddha on the full moon
in May
• Involves decorations, gifts, community and
services held at temples
• Thai New Year celebrations held in April
• Water fights symbolizing the washing away of
everything bad
• Buddha statues are paraded and water thrown on
them to cleanse them
• People visit family, friends and neighbours
• No religious structure of authority
• Services can be lead by
respected members of Buddhist
communities (monks)
• Buddhist scriptures are greatest
source of authority
The Dalai Lama
• Most recognizable Buddhist
• Is primary spiritual leader of
Tibetan Buddist
• Other Buddhists, see him as
important man, but not their
The Sangha – the order of monks
• In Theravada Buddhism need to be a monk to
reach enlightenment
– Not necessary in Mahayana Buddhism
• Those that are not monks provide food to them
to build good karma
• Monks follow five additional precepts to show
good example:
No eating at wrong times
No dancing, singing or music
No use of garlands, perfume or jewlery
No elevated seats to enhance importance
No accepting gold or silver
• Monks are there to help with their knowledge –
may lead meditation
– Lay Buddhists can do these things also
The Tripitaka
• For Theravadan Buddhists the Tripitaka (also called the
Three Baskets) is most important scripture
• Contains the teachings of the Buddha as wells as rules for
• The Three Baskets are:
– Vinaya Pitaka – containing the Four Noble truths, the Noble
eightfold Path, rules for sangha
– Sutta Pitaka – dialogues about teachings of Buddha and stories of
his life
– Abhidamma Pitaka – explanations of the teachings in the Sutta
• Mahayana Buddhist acknowledge its importance also, but
have added more Sutras (discourses attributed to the
• Scriptures used to teach and provide mantras to help in