Buddha Statues facing East

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Refugee
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Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Refugee » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:02 pm

I have come across suggestions that Buddha Statues in our shrines should face the East, because the Buddha's enlightenment occurred whilst He was sitting, facing East, under the Bhodi Tree. Then, again, there is the suggestion that when meditating we should also face the East. If we adhere to both these suggestions, then our backs will be towards the Buddha Statues in our shrines. :?

Presently, the Buddha Statues on my shrine face the East and I sit in meditation in front of the shrine, facing West. I do not have access to a Sangha, Buddhist temples or meditation centres in the region I live, so I will appreciate any advice in this matter.

With kind regards,
Tim
My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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bodom
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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby bodom » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:12 pm

It is nothing more than rites and rituals.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:28 pm

bodom wrote:It is nothing more than rites and rituals.


I agree.

Once a Korean woman and her family were at my previous house and they were complaining that my Buddha statues were not facing East. I also felt that it was just clinging to rites and rituals. In my current home, the statues are all facing East, but that has more to do with the fact that my condo / home faces East and it was the best way to place the statues.

I asked a Sri Lankan monk about this and he said it doesn't matter to him either and he also places the statues whichever way looks best, not the direction.

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:06 pm

"Strive for your own liberation with diligence"

I don't think Feng Shui is important.

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:37 pm

Hello all,

The Bodhisatta was born between two Sal trees and as soon as he was born, he took seven steps to the north and announced: “I am chief in the world, I am best in the world, I am first in the world. This is my last birth. There will be no further rebirths.”

The Bodhisatta was sitting under the Bodhi Tree facing East when he became enlightened.

Just before his parinibbana, at his request, the Buddha laid on his right side with his head pointing north and facing west, under two Sal trees.

These are the traditional postures. The Buddha thought it important enough to deliberately use these postures.

When you go to Kusinara you can see the BuddhaRupa facing west:
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... ilgrim.htm

However - as statues of the Buddha did not appear for hundreds of years after his death, one can wonder at the very use of statues themselves not just their positioning.

with metta
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 ---

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:42 pm

Refugee wrote:
Presently, the Buddha Statues on my shrine face the East and I sit in meditation in front of the shrine, facing West. I do not have access to a Sangha, Buddhist temples or meditation centres in the region I live, so I will appreciate any advice in this matter.

If it has meaning for you, then don't pay a bit of attention to any of the naysayers.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:57 pm

tiltbillings wrote:If it has meaning for you, then don't pay a bit of attention to any of the naysayers.

Tilt has an extremely good point here. On one level there are many thing that are "not essential". However, they are useful aids to mindfulness, respectful behaviour, and fitting into a community. These include taking off shoes, not pointing feet at monks or Buddha rupa, trying to use the locally-accepted method for bowing, and even such silly-sounding things as not smelling flowers one is going to present to the Wat. Clearly none of this is "essential", but if one wandered around inside a Buddhist meditation hall with shoes on it would certainly generate a lot of negativity.

Getting back to the Buddha Rupa. It may not be feasible to have statues facing east, but the thinking about it, and the possible rearrangement of the room to do it, may be a useful reminder that one has taken refuge in the Buddha, which I think is the main point of having any statues in the first place.

Mike

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Guy » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:26 pm

At the Dhamma Center I go to the Buddha statue is facing West. Ajahn Brahm says that if the Buddha statue wasn't happy he'd turn around and face East by himself.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:33 pm

Guy wrote:At the Dhamma Center I go to the Buddha statue is facing West. Ajahn Brahm says that if the Buddha statue wasn't happy he'd turn around and face East by himself.

If it does not have meaning for Ajahn B having the Buddha-rupa facing east, does that mean it should not have meaning for anyone else?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Guy
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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Guy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:If it does not have meaning for Ajahn B having the Buddha-rupa facing east, does that mean it should not have meaning for anyone else?

No, that wasn't what I was saying. Ajahn Brahm made the joke to illustrate that it doesn't appear (to him) to be so important, personally I agree, others might not. If facing our Buddha rupa's at home towards the East is an external expression of our internal devotion then that's good. Perhaps we agree on this point. But the internal aspect of devotion, in my opinion, is much more important than simply following external protocols without understanding their symbolic meaning.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:09 am

Well said, Guy.

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)

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:Well said, Guy.

Metta,
Retro.

Yes. I agree; thanks, Guy. I guess I needed to see Ajahn Brahm laughing at his own joke to see that it was a joke. Didn't mean to be so glum.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby appicchato » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:18 am

A side of you I hadn't seen before tilt... there's hope after all... :smile:

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:49 am

appicchato wrote:A side of you I hadn't seen before tilt... there's hope after all... :smile:
Which side? Getting cranky?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby alan » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:33 am

We luv you even when you're cranky. :smile:

Good to know that an old dog can find some humor in this life!

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:53 am

I see what you mean Tilt: what I consider to be unhelpful to my practice may be helpful someone else, and what I consider to be helpful to my practice may be unhelpful to someone else (sorry for repeating what's been said already). Hmmm, I've much to learn.

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:56 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:Hmmm, I've much to learn.
And it never stops.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Refugee
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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Refugee » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:22 am

I thank everyone who responded to this thread. The posts were both interesting and helpful.
:anjali:
My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Laurens » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:54 pm

Its just a statue, kick its head off it you want to... You're not gonna hurt Buddhism
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Re: Buddha Statues facing East

Postby Guy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:51 pm

Laurens wrote:Its just a statue, kick its head off it you want to... You're not gonna hurt Buddhism

You'd probably hurt your foot though.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm


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