Bowing to lay teachers

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
pilgrim
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Bowing to lay teachers

Postby pilgrim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:28 pm

Two parts to this question:
Is it OK to bow ( I mean on your knees, head to floor prostration) to lay Dhamma teachers and is it OK for lay teachers to accept , and therefore encourage, such action?

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:18 pm

pilgrim wrote:Two parts to this question:
Is it OK to bow ( I mean on your knees, head to floor prostration) to lay Dhamma teachers and is it OK for lay teachers to accept , and therefore encourage, such action?


I suspect that for most lay teachers a simple "thank-you" would be appropriate.

Spiny

David2
Posts: 930
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Germany

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:24 pm

pilgrim wrote:Two parts to this question:
Is it OK to bow ( I mean on your knees, head to floor prostration) to lay Dhamma teachers and is it OK for lay teachers to accept , and therefore encourage, such action?


If a disciple wants to express his gratitude towards the teacher, it is perfectly ok.
But it shouldn't become a ritual.
If one does not feel gratitude one should not bow.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:50 pm

Some people don't like it!
some may appreciate it!

Bowing is a beautiful gesture, one of humility, humbling oneself to the dhamma (not the person) is always a positive move, even if one doesn't want to.
I have found forcing myself to bow toward someone I really didn't want to at the time quite lightening, almost a putting down the grudge/burden so to speak.

but some may find it inappropriate, others may not.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

santa100
Posts: 1610
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby santa100 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:04 pm

Closely observe the teacher first. If we bow to someone who doesn't seems to have transcended pride or arrogance, the act could only be a further hindrance to his/her progress, and thus, a big disservice to the teacher..

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:16 pm

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11213&start=0&hilit=Arahant
please read this thread.

outward appearance can be deceptive, if one bows it should be for oneself, and if pride... does spring up in the teacher it may just be as helpful as it allows the teacher to see the presence of such states.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

santa100
Posts: 1610
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby santa100 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:22 pm

"and if pride... does spring up in the teacher it may just be as helpful as it allows the teacher to see the presence of such states."

While we certainly wish that to be the case, we need to consider the other possibilities. One's bowing should be for oneself, but if it could benefit others, that's even better. So imho, closely observe the teacher first..

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2039
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: New Zealand

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:18 pm

pilgrim wrote:Two parts to this question:
Is it OK to bow ( I mean on your knees, head to floor prostration) to lay Dhamma teachers and is it OK for lay teachers to accept , and therefore encourage, such action?


I've never seen or heard of anyone bowing to lay teachers.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

David2
Posts: 930
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Germany

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:33 pm

Goofaholix wrote:I've never seen or heard of anyone bowing to lay teachers.


For instance, in the Goenka tradition many students do that.

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2039
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: New Zealand

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:49 pm

David2 wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:I've never seen or heard of anyone bowing to lay teachers.


For instance, in the Goenka tradition many students do that.


Are you talking about where Goenka is present in person rather than on DVD? If not then I'm not sure bowing towards the front of the room at the end of a meditation session is what we are talking about. Also is a single lower back stretch really the same in the same league as the 5 pointed triple theravadin bow that we do to monks and alters.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

hermitwin
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:35 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby hermitwin » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:51 pm

I would like to quote Godwin samararatne, a well known meditation teacher.
'Dont call me teacher, consider me a peer who is also learning the dhamma
together with you'

User avatar
pilgrim
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby pilgrim » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:45 am

Does Goenka's students bow to him ?

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16366
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:02 am

pilgrim wrote:Does Goenka's students bow to him ?


Yes, to express gratitude and respect.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

User avatar
pilgrim
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby pilgrim » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:07 am

Ben wrote:
pilgrim wrote:Does Goenka's students bow to him ?


Yes, to express gratitude and respect.
kind regards,

Ben

I guess it is uncommon but can understand for someone of Goenka;s stature.
To be clear, I'm referring to on your knees, head to floor bow ( aka the 5 point prostration). The reason I'm asking is that I know of a lay teacher who "is being bowed to" and just want to know if there is a precedent. So I guess it is not inappropriate.

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16366
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:13 am

pilgrim wrote:
Ben wrote:
pilgrim wrote:Does Goenka's students bow to him ?


Yes, to express gratitude and respect.
kind regards,

Ben

I guess it is uncommon but can understand for someone of Goenka;s stature.
To be clear, I'm referring to on your knees, head to floor bow ( aka the 5 point prostration). The reason I'm asking is that I know of a lay teacher who "is being bowed to" and just want to know if there is a precedent. So I guess it is not inappropriate.


Where I have seen that is in Myanmar with a room of 100+ Burmese people who were doing the five-point bow. In India and Aus/NZ his students just bow from sitting position which ever sitting posture they're in.
I've also seen Burmese people bowing to a picture of Sayagi U Ba Khin at a shrine at IMC Yangon. Sayagi's teacher was Saya (U Po) Thet. And I imagine that his Burmese students bowed to him. But apparently he gave his Dhamma talks from behind a screen.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2039
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: New Zealand

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:23 pm

Ben wrote:Where I have seen that is in Myanmar with a room of 100+ Burmese people who were doing the five-point bow. In India and Aus/NZ his students just bow from sitting position which ever sitting posture they're in.
I've also seen Burmese people bowing to a picture of Sayagi U Ba Khin at a shrine at IMC Yangon. Sayagi's teacher was Saya (U Po) Thet. And I imagine that his Burmese students bowed to him. But apparently he gave his Dhamma talks from behind a screen.
kind regards,


It seems fitting in an asian context with teachers of the stature of U Ba Khin and Goenka.

I was thinking though of westerners bowing to fellow westerner IMS type teachers, which seems unlikely and not fitting with our culture.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:04 pm

Whether bowing to a monk, a lay Dhamma teacher, or a stūpa, why do you bow three times? It is because you are bowing to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (those Noble Ones who have realised nibbāna).

If you understand that your bowing is something done by you to show how much you respect the Triple Gem, and not how much you respect whoever is sitting in front of you, it becomes easy to bow, even to a monk or lay person who is weak in virtue, and far from the Noble Path.

It doesn't matter if the pile of bricks looking like a stūpa actually contains relics or not. Why should you allow that to affect your reverence for the Triple Gem? Nor does it matter if the person, photo, or statue you're bowing too is a Noble One or not. If your mind is purified by focusing on the qualities of the Triple Gem, that is what is important.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 14815
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:09 pm

Greetings bhante,

:goodpost:

Thanks, as always.

:candle: :candle: :candle:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 7815
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby cooran » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:57 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Whether bowing to a monk, a lay Dhamma teacher, or a stūpa, why do you bow three times? It is because you are bowing to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (those Noble Ones who have realised nibbāna).

If you understand that your bowing is something done by you to show how much you respect the Triple Gem, and not how much you respect whoever is sitting in front of you, it becomes easy to bow, even to a monk or lay person who is weak in virtue, and far from the Noble Path.

It doesn't matter if the pile of bricks looking like a stūpa actually contains relics or not. Why should you allow that to affect your reverence for the Triple Gem? Nor does it matter if the person, photo, or statue you're bowing too is a Noble One or not. If your mind is purified by focusing on the qualities of the Triple Gem, that is what is important.



So glad you are here, Bhante.

with metta and respect,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16366
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:28 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Whether bowing to a monk, a lay Dhamma teacher, or a stūpa, why do you bow three times? It is because you are bowing to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (those Noble Ones who have realised nibbāna).

If you understand that your bowing is something done by you to show how much you respect the Triple Gem, and not how much you respect whoever is sitting in front of you, it becomes easy to bow, even to a monk or lay person who is weak in virtue, and far from the Noble Path.

It doesn't matter if the pile of bricks looking like a stūpa actually contains relics or not. Why should you allow that to affect your reverence for the Triple Gem? Nor does it matter if the person, photo, or statue you're bowing too is a Noble One or not. If your mind is purified by focusing on the qualities of the Triple Gem, that is what is important.


Well said, Bhante!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], mikenz66, Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine