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Spirit worship - Dhamma Wheel

Spirit worship

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
davcuts
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Spirit worship

Postby davcuts » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:54 am

I just posted on another forum about spirits. It seems some Buddhist take part in spirit worship. Is there spirit worship in Theravada Buddhism? Do Theravadas even believe in spirits, or possession?


Thanks,
David

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retrofuturist
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:06 am

Greetings David,

There is no spirit worship in Theravada, though there is some spirit worship in some Theravada countries... but beware the distinction.

All beings in Theravada are accounted for within the...

Thirty-One Planes Of Existence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html

Note, there is no Buddha realm.

As for believing in spirits, I think it's more a cultural thing than a Theravadin thing.

As for possession, I think I recall somewhere that possession is one possible explanation for madness, but take that with a grain of salt until someone learned like venerable Dhammanando is able to confirm or deny that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:34 am


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bodom
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby bodom » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:55 pm

Buddhism and Spirit Worship in Burma and Thailand

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=3782

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:43 pm

It depends very much on different factors, the individual beliefs, society and culture etc

You will find that many theravadins do worship spirits in thailand and sri-lanka but i think it is far less common among western buddhists (this again depends on the individual etc)

Also i think it is more common among lay people than the bhikkhus and bhikkunis (although i may be wrong)



:namaste:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:05 pm


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bodom
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby bodom » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:09 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:12 pm

Sharing dhamma talk and merit though is different from worship :bow:

Metta
Craig
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:38 pm


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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:50 pm

To me offering merit etc is karuna not worship. My deffinition of worship is doing deeds and making offerings to a being in order to gain that beings favour so that you can secure good fortune and/or to avoid offending said being out of fear of some kind of punishment in this exsistence or another one.

Sharing merit and dhamma talks with other beings is done to benefit those beings and not to gain favour.

At least thats my take on it.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:12 pm

Last edited by mikenz66 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kc2dpt
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:15 pm

- Peter


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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:20 pm


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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:21 pm

Sorry if my last posts seemed to be nit-picking that wasnt my intention.

I do believe that giving offerings to the deceased that you feel are in the lower realms is beneficial, even if it has no effect at all on said being it will still be good for the person who is offering as it is done out of the wholesome roots.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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mikenz66
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:33 pm

Hi clw_uk,

No, I don't think it's nit-picking. It's an interesting discussion. I don't personally leave out food for my deceased relatives, but I did want to point out that there are practises in Buddhist countries that some Western Buddhists dismiss as "superstition" but actually seem to be in line with the Suttas.

Being aware of this has made me more open to practises of indigenous people in many countries (including my own). Not that I necessarily believe them, but I now look much more closely at the motivation and the meaning...

Metta
Mike

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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:49 pm

I think western buddhists are dismissive of it because they feel that spirit worship, offerings etc are at odds with the buddhas teaching that beings are owners of their own kamma and that "no one can save us but ourselves"

This is how i feel anyway on the subject but i dont feel such practicies are worthless as they do encourage the wholesome. i just dont think they change the outcome of the being towards its directed.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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kc2dpt
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:18 pm

- Peter


davcuts
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby davcuts » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:58 pm

What I find troubling in Tibetan Buddhism is certain spirits have been used to harm others. My own former teacher was overheard placing a curse on someone. Is this type of behavior found in Theravada Buddhism? I do love Tibetan Buddhism, but there are certain things about it I find troubling. Using spirits to harm another seems more like the occult then it does Buddhism. Would Theravadas use spirits to harm others? For instance if a county like China was to invade a country where Theravada Buddhism is dominant, would they ask spirits to help protect them? Would they use spirits to attack the countries leader, to kill him, or even drive him mad?

Thanks,
David

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clw_uk
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Re: Spirit worship

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:02 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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GrahamR
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Spirit worship

Postby GrahamR » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:33 pm

Dear all,

Belief in spirits is deeply ingrained into Thai culture. People will leave offerings; maybe cans of Coke, for spirits or angels (depending if they put them high or low).
Most homes and businesses have a spirit house to appease the spirits who lived on the land before the building was constructed. Many homes will even have a shrine to a Thai king where food offerings can be made.
Animism and Hinduism have influenced Thai culture. People of Chinese extraction can bring an extra layer of beliefs with them.
My wife is Thai and I have slightly jokingly asked her how she can justify some of the actions as a Buddhist and the best answer I have ever got is she believes in both!

with Metta :bow:
Graham
With metta :bow:
Graham


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