Theravadin Cultural Practices

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 in order to double-check alignment to Theravāda orthodoxy.
Post Reply
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Theravadin Cultural Practices

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

What are some unique cultural practices in Theravadin Countries you know about that the average layman might not be familiar with?

I can think of a few things I know about for example of Phra Mae Thorani is the witness to the Buddha's rout of Mara's army, and that the Four Heavenly Kings are guardians of the four directions and several intersections of non-human beings, and that Brahma Sahampati was the one who knelt and encouraged the Buddha to teach, and the Arahant Sivali (who was foremost at obtaining requisites) and is considered auspicious enough that there's like little amulets and trinkets which are seen as good luck in Thailand with his form. There's also pirit nula threads that sort of grant a reminder of practice, but I only have small ideas of how these cultural practices arose. What are some more cultural practices that we might not be so familiar with and what are some resources that demonstrate the origin of the different traditional practices?

Which traditional practices are important to know and understand as a matter of paying proper respect? Which ones are best known and disregarded in personal practice as merely wrong rites and rituals? I wish to practice well, and good conduct is important to me so I want to know.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 7400
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Theravadin Cultural Practices

Post by Sam Vara »

This thread might be of interest:
SarathW
Posts: 14710
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Theravadin Cultural Practices

Post by SarathW »

Which traditional practices are important to know and understand as a matter of paying proper respect? Which ones are best known and disregarded in personal practice as merely wrong rites and rituals? I wish to practice well, and good conduct is important to me so I want to know.
They are numerous to mention here.
However, the rule of thumb is whether you know whether they are Sila, Samadhi, Panna or some rituals serve no purpose at all.
If you think those rituals increase your wholesome mental states please follow them.
Walking around the stupa is a ritual or could be the walking meditation.
Pouring milk to a Bodhi tree is the waste of milk however if you pour water could be good.
Bow down to a senior monk could be good but Some Tibetan prostrations could be meaningless.
However, this could be good for a person who breaks the precepts as a habit.
It is the gradual training, so you have to start somewhere and move on towards Nibbana.
The problem is some people never go beyond rituals.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
48vows
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:31 am

Question about Sivali

Post by 48vows »

Wizard in the Forest wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:48 pm the Arahant Sivali (who was foremost at obtaining requisites)
Hello,
In Burma is Sivali generally shown holding a fan in the hand that he is often shown holding the parasol ?
thank you
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: Theravadin Cultural Practices

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

Yes, he is the same monk.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
48vows
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Theravadin Cultural Practices

Post by 48vows »

Wizard in the Forest wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:21 pm Yes, he is the same monk.
Thank you!
Any idea why he is shown with a fan in burma ?

Also, I acquired an statue of buddha sitting on a throne of elephants, any thoughts on the meaning of this? Is it common in burma to show buddha like that ?
Post Reply