Prostrations from a Theravada POV

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Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:39 am

Hello All,

I'm not sure where to post this but I'm sure the mods will correct me if I'm wrong. I practice primarily in the Kammatthana Thai Forest tradition but have practiced with other schools. I have found myself drawn to the practice of 108 prostrations as is done in the Kwan Um school of Zen. I was wondering how such a practice might be viewed within the context of Theravada doctrine and praxis. Would such a practice simply be considered as a harmless but relatively ineffective one or could it be seen as having definite value in the cultivation of skillful qualities.

I thank anyone who has any advice to give. I have recently added the 108 bows to my daily schedule and find it has good psycho-physical benefits but would just like a doctrinal perspective.

Metta,

Mike :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Dan74 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:01 am

I hope someone can offer a proper Theravada perspective, but I would just say you can treat it as honouring the Triple Gem, your potential for enlightenment, your practice, confessing your defilements and vowing to be more mindful of your habits of mind, speech and action. Or some combination of these.

Sounds like a very good practice!

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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:02 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hello All,

I'm not sure where to post this but I'm sure the mods will correct me if I'm wrong. I practice primarily in the Kammatthana Thai Forest tradition but have practiced with other schools. I have found myself drawn to the practice of 108 prostrations as is done in the Kwan Um school of Zen. I was wondering how such a practice might be viewed within the context of Theravada doctrine and praxis. Would such a practice simply be considered as a harmless but relatively ineffective one or could it be seen as having definite value in the cultivation of skillful qualities.

I thank anyone who has any advice to give. I have recently added the 108 bows to my daily schedule and find it has good psycho-physical benefits but would just like a doctrinal perspective.

Metta,

Mike :anjali:

I don't know if there is a specific Theravada view, since it's a foreign practice to Theravada. It could be beneficial by being a method of discipline, or it could just be a silly superstition.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:14 pm

quote]
I don't know if there is a specific Theravada view, since it's a foreign practice to Theravada. It could be beneficial by being a method of discipline, or it could just be a silly superstition.[/quote]

Yeah, that's the rub...
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
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http://greatergood.com
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:16 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hello All,

I'm not sure where to post this but I'm sure the mods will correct me if I'm wrong. I practice primarily in the Kammatthana Thai Forest tradition but have practiced with other schools. I have found myself drawn to the practice of 108 prostrations as is done in the Kwan Um school of Zen. I was wondering how such a practice might be viewed within the context of Theravada doctrine and praxis. Would such a practice simply be considered as a harmless but relatively ineffective one or could it be seen as having definite value in the cultivation of skillful qualities.

I thank anyone who has any advice to give. I have recently added the 108 bows to my daily schedule and find it has good psycho-physical benefits but would just like a doctrinal perspective.

Metta,

Mike :anjali:


The question is what are you doing when you are doing the prostrations?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:25 pm

Tilt,

I have alternated between reciting "namo tassa bhagavato...", asking forgiveness of anyone i have harmed and reciting the refuges. :anjali: I seems pretty innocuous to me but i guess I'm lookingfor some kind of scriptural or commentarial "okay" so I can be morecerain that it's not a completewast of time. Thans for the reply.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:30 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The question is what are you doing when you are doing the prostrations?

What are you doing mentally (to be more specific)

Right, Tiltbillings?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:49 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Tilt,

I have alternated between reciting "namo tassa bhagavato...", asking forgiveness of anyone i have harmed and reciting the refuges. :anjali: I seems pretty innocuous to me but i guess I'm lookingfor some kind of scriptural or commentarial "okay" so I can be morecerain that it's not a completewast of time. Thans for the reply.

Mike


You won't find any, but that does not mean it is a complete waste of time. It certainly can be a way of developing concentration and as a devotional practice. I would not worry about it. You could also use prostrations as a way of developing mindfulness; sort of a walking meditation on steroids.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:49 pm

Individual wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The question is what are you doing when you are doing the prostrations?

What are you doing mentally (to be more specific)

Right, Tiltbillings?


Right, as we see above.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:06 am

Individual and Tilt,

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it and it certainly has given me a better idea of how to incorporate the bows into my practice. Metta.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Tilt,

I have alternated between reciting "namo tassa bhagavato...", asking forgiveness of anyone i have harmed and reciting the refuges. :anjali: I seems pretty innocuous to me but i guess I'm lookingfor some kind of scriptural or commentarial "okay" so I can be morecerain that it's not a completewast of time. Thans for the reply.

Mike


You won't find any, but that does not mean it is a complete waste of time. It certainly can be a way of developing concentration and as a devotional practice. I would worry about it. You could also use prostrations as a way of developing mindfulness; sort of a walking meditation on steroids.

Did you mean to write " I would worry about it " Tilt ?
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:08 pm

I need to fire my proof reader.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Prostrations from a Theravada POV

Postby befriend » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:05 pm

there are prostrations in the theravadan tradition, in my experience it creates humility and happiness. look on you tube.
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