Upanayanam in Buddhism

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Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby texasguy87 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:06 am

Does anyone know anything about the upanayanam string that is very common in Hinduism? I heard that there is something similiar in Buddhism. It is also referred to as opanayiko. If anyone has any information about it, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby cooran » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:42 am

Hello texasguy,

I've heard it referred to as 'sincana' thread. e.g.:
''Pali, the ancient scriptural language of the Theravada school, pervades traditional temple rituals. Participants with use vernacular languages, but mostly in instrumental capacity. Lay people as well as monks chant familiar Pali phrases, sometimes in unison, often responsively; in the latter case, the monks first chant a line to be repeated by the laity. Longer or unfamiliar Pali texts, such as suttas (discourses) gathas (poetic stanzas), or parittas (texts with protective or auspicious properties), are chanted by the monks alone, sometimes from behind a hand-held ceremonial fan called a talapatta. Laity often respond to these chants with the words sadhu, sadhu, analogous to the Christian "Amen." Also, at times a sacred string, a sincana, stretches from monks to laity during the chanting; afterwards, the monks may cut the string into small segments to be tied around the right wrist of each lay participant.''
http://www.buddhapia.com/hmu/bcm/2/thera_bonshoo.html

I still wear thin strand of orange cotton tied around my wrist by a bhikkhu during a chanting ceremony in Bodh Gaya India in early March this year. Traditionally one is supposed to leave it on until it wears through.

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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:20 am

Taken from wiki:

Buddhism and Upanayanam

In Buddhism, the Upanayanam is referred to by the Pali term, "opanayiko" which is one of the six characteristics of the Dharma. It is related to refuge in the Triple Gem and practicing the Eightfold Path which leads one through to the Four stages of enlightenment. In the Visuddhimagga it is called "opanayiko" or "upanayanam" as the practice leads "onwards to Nirvana": nibanam upaneti ti ariya maggo upaneyo... opanayiko, "It leads on to nibanna, thus the Eightfold Path is onward leading... so it is leading onwards."

In Buddhism, a person of any age, sex or caste can obtain the Upanayanam through refuge in the Triple Gem and practicing the Eightfold Path.


All trought there are similar practices in Buddhist countries like "Upanayanam" they are mostly actually Bramanic or of shamanic origin. Of cause there are many similar rituales all over countries where Theravada is practiced and as colorful and different as there are people.

In Cambodia for example, there would be not easy one person who does not wear a scared string around his hips. Sometimes from shamanic rituals, but also from monks provided and performed. So it is simply a mix if it appears in such a way and an appearence of simple folk-buddhism and cultural believes. Does not mean that such a ceremony is not where healthy for the community as well for the person growing to age but not scared just nessesary to make thinks more conscious and to indroduce.

This ritual which was provided by chris, comes from blessing cereminies and might be mixed with "Upanayanam". For more details about the string which symbolises the unity of "Buddha Dhamma Sangha" and its sharing with laypeople look like

The Catunabhanavara was compiled by the Maha Theras, the teachers of yore (paranakacariya), of Sri Lanka, and today it is known among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka as the Pirit Potha The Book of Protection.

It is customary for Buddhist monks, when they are invited to the homes of the laity on occasions of domestic importance, such as birth days, house-warming, illness, and similar events, to recite the three popular discourses mentioned above. In the domestic and social life of the people of Sri Lanka pirit ceremony is of great significance. No festival or function, religious or social, is complete without the recital of the paritta. On special occasions monks are invited to recite the paritta suttas not for short periods but right through the night or for three or seven days, and at times, for weeks. On such occasions a pavilion (pirit mandapaya) is constructed for the purpose of accommodating the monks at the recital. Before the commencement of the recital the laity present at the ceremony makes a formal invitation to the monks by reciting in Pali three stanzas which explain the purpose of the recital.[2] Then the monks, generally about twelve or fourteen, who have been invited, will recite the three popular suttas. Thereafter a pair of monks will commence reciting the remaining suttas for two hours. They will then retire and will be followed by another pair for another two hours. Two monks must be constantly officiating. In this manner the recital will last till dawn.

While the recital continues there will be found a pot of water placed on a table before the monks. On this table there is also a sacred thread (pirit nula). For an all night pirit ceremony the casket containing a relic of the Buddha, and the Pirit Potha or The Book of Protection written on ola leaves, are also brought into the pavilion. The relic represents the Buddha, the "Pirit Potha" represents the Dhamma or the teachings of the Buddha, and the reciting Bhikkhu-Sangha represent the Ariya-Sangha, the arahant disciples of the Buddha.

The thread is drawn round the interior of the pavilion, and its end twisted round the casket, the neck of the pot of water, and tied to the cord of the ola-leaf book. While the special discourses are being recited the monks hold the thread. The purpose is to maintain an unbroken communication from the water to the relic, to the Pirit Potha and to the officiating monks, (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, the Ti-ratana, the three jewels.) A ball of thread connected to "The Three Jewels" and the water, is unloosened and passed on to the listeners (seated on the ground on mats), who hold the thread while the recital goes on.

When the recital in Pali of the entire book is over at dawn, the thread sanctified by the recital is divided into pieces and distributed among the devotees to be tied round their wrists or necks. At the same time the sanctified water is sprinkled on all, who even drink a little of it and sprinkle it on their heads. These are to be regarded as symbols of the protective power of the paritta that was recited. It is a service of inducing blessings. It has its psychological effects.

from the book of protection
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby texasguy87 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:17 am

The upanayanam string is actually worn across the torso, hanging from the left shoulder to the right hip, not on the wrist.
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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby texasguy87 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:19 am

Hanzze wrote:Taken from wiki:

Buddhism and Upanayanam

In Buddhism, the Upanayanam is referred to by the Pali term, "opanayiko" which is one of the six characteristics of the Dharma. It is related to refuge in the Triple Gem and practicing the Eightfold Path which leads one through to the Four stages of enlightenment. In the Visuddhimagga it is called "opanayiko" or "upanayanam" as the practice leads "onwards to Nirvana": nibanam upaneti ti ariya maggo upaneyo... opanayiko, "It leads on to nibanna, thus the Eightfold Path is onward leading... so it is leading onwards."

In Buddhism, a person of any age, sex or caste can obtain the Upanayanam through refuge in the Triple Gem and practicing the Eightfold Path.



I have read this wiki entry as well, and haven't been able to find too much more on the subject on the internet.
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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:54 am

There might be some equal practice in what is called "tantric Theravada" but I don't think that there is a "offical" Buddhist ritual. I will ask a little, there are such rituals here but as told...
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Upanayanam in Buddhism

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:17 pm

As far as I could find out, this string is called "ksy kata" and its use is very similar to the vedic tradition in this wiki link. In earlier times (befor the war) it was only usuall amoung kings and high soldiers. There is less real knowledge of that what is called "Tantric Theravda" left, still there are some Gurus and Bhikkhus who performe such rituals as well as the preparing of the string. It is celerbrated with recitatings taken and addopted from the pali canon and has its protective use but also is connected with taking some precepts (for example not to eat dog meat). Over all it has its psychological effects as well the ritual it self lifts the awarness.

In Tantric Theravada there is a lot of addoption of Brahmanic rituals as well as the use of the mytics a little similar like we find it in Tibetan Buddhism as well for example.

Today such "ksy kata"s are usuall by everybody and of cause a good income for "gurus", there are very less left who keep the moral principes of such a performer.

I could how ever not find any real Buddhist relation to such a ritual not to forget that such livelihood is not according to the Dhamma and Vinaya.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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