I'm interested in the respect shown to the Buddha in the Suttas by the physical actions of those he met. Specifically, in my (admittedly shallow) readings thus far I have become very aware of people who meet the Buddha (and sometime other Sangha such as Ven. Ananda) typically paying respect to him (presumably bowing) and then sitting down "to one side". (eg. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Assuming the translations do actually mean 'to the side of', as opposed to 'in front of', this just struck me as different from the respect shown to members of the Sangha (in my again limited experience), where lay people may well bow but tend to sit facing the monk/nun in order to receive instruction.
On leaving the Buddha's presence, I'm aware of the repeated phrase that the visitor departed "keeping their right sides towards him". (eg. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html
Presumably this is also a mark of respect? Why the right side? Incidentally, this isn't easy to picture - how might it physically be achieved?
Are such practices simply typical of Indian custom at the time of the Buddha (perhaps this is unknown) or only typical of the Buddha's followers? Are such customs still practiced in any Buddhist countries as a mark of respect?
Sorry if this is trivial, but personally I find any hints at real physical behaviour from the past quite interesting.