Bowing to lay teachers

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6636
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Cittasanto »

Ricardo da Silva wrote:
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.
Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu! Very well explanation.
My suggestion: To bow down to lay teachers, lay teachers should be older than disciples.
Why??
Age is not a prerequisite for respect, Gray hair does not make someone mature in the Dhamma.
Plwks links are very apt.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill
User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 13401
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by DNS »

pilgrim wrote:
Bankei wrote:What about monks bowing to laypeople. Does it happen?

bankei
No...
Cittasanto wrote:monks can not bow to lay people or junior monks.
Good points. In light of this and with due respect to Bhikkhu Pesala's point about bowing to the Triple Gem, there does however appear to be some credence to who you are bowing to.

The Vinaya recounts the story of six monks who lifted up their robes to show their thighs to the nuns. When the Buddha learned about this, he told the nuns not to pay respect to these monks. It appears therefore, that bowing is to be to a monk, nun, or person who is superior to you / worthy of respect.
User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6636
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Cittasanto »

David N. Snyder wrote:
pilgrim wrote:
Bankei wrote:What about monks bowing to laypeople. Does it happen?

bankei
No...
Cittasanto wrote:monks can not bow to lay people or junior monks.
Good points. In light of this and with due respect to Bhikkhu Pesala's point about bowing to the Triple Gem, there does however appear to be some credence to who you are bowing to.

The Vinaya recounts the story of six monks who lifted up their robes to show their thighs to the nuns. When the Buddha learned about this, he told the nuns not to pay respect to these monks. It appears therefore, that bowing is to be to a monk, nun, or person who is superior to you / worthy of respect.
The Sadhamma is the priority, that which is truly worthy of respect, not the person.
You remind me of a vision mentioned by Ajahn Gavasiko in another thread where Ajahn Mun saw a large group of Arahants and the Buddha all come and sit in order of arival, not order of seniority/age within the Sangha.
unfortunately I can not remember the thread name.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill
User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 13401
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by DNS »

Priority yes, but not everything. Otherwise senior monks would be bowing to junior monks, which they don't.
User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2997
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Goofaholix »

Why bow to anything or anybody? Just bow.

For me it's primarily an exercise in mindfulness and humbling and it doesn't really matter whether there is a Buddha image, an alter, or a teacher in front of me when i do it. Of course when I'm in tradional environments I do it at the tradional times and in the traditional manner but it's still primarily an exercise in mindfulness and humbling.

Sometimes gratitude towards the triple gem or a teacher arises in the mind sometimes not.

For example I've heard of monks undertaking the practice of bowing whenever they enter or leave their kuti. Also a Mahasi based tradition in northern Thailand practices a very slow one step at a time bowing practise at the begining and the end of sitting, this can take 5 minutes or so, it's very effective in collecting your mind and enhancing mindfulness.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6636
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Cittasanto »

David N. Snyder wrote:Priority yes, but not everything. Otherwise senior monks would be bowing to junior monks, which they don't.
What the True Teachings is not everything here? the Dhammavinaya is not complete or true without both. :tongue:
but yes I did have that in mind when writing, but could be misleading :anjali:
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill
sattva
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 10:07 pm

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by sattva »

Cittasanto wrote: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.
:goodpost:
http://www.chatzy.com/25904628501622
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

Dan74 wrote:Bowing and prostrating comes hard to most people here I think.
It feels very awkward to me. So I would more likely say "thank-you", having recieved a teaching.

Spiny
jabalí
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:52 pm

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by jabalí »

Goofaholix wrote: Also a Mahasi based tradition in northern Thailand practices a very slow one step at a time bowing practise at the begining and the end of sitting, this can take 5 minutes or so, it's very effective in collecting your mind and enhancing mindfulness.
Like this:

User avatar
Ricardo da Silva
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:58 pm
Location: Yangon, Myanmar

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Ricardo da Silva »

Bankei wrote:What about monks bowing to laypeople. Does it happen?

bankei
Monks cannot bow to laypeople even if laypeople are his parents.
Laypeople should bow down to monks even if a monk is their son.

Monks cannot bow to laypeople even if a layperson is an Anagami and monk is a puthujana.
Laypeople should bow down to monks even if a layperson is an Anagami and monk is a puthujana.
If a man does evil, he should not do it again and again; he should not take delight in it; the accumulation of evil leads to suffering. (Dhammapada 117)

If a man does what is good, he should do it again and again; he should take delight in it; the accumulation of good leads to happiness. (Dhammapada 118)
jagodage
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:11 am

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by jagodage »

Bowing to lay teachers
There are several aspects in bowing to a teacher.

1. Bowing will help to control or grade down Sakkaya Ditti.This will help to get rid off Sakkaya Ditti .This is first Sanyogan in Ten Sanyagana that one has to get rid.To attains First step in Noble Path.At the time of bowing one is relinquishing certain level of one's self hood.This will offer a training to attack the Asimimana yet another Sanyagana in the final lap.Some person think that they are well above others in qualities,hence all others should bow him first.They will have longer journey in Sansara.

2 .The second aspect is paying gratitude for the Teacher who offer/offered Dhamma advices and guidence.The teacher in return will show a mark of compassion.

3. At time of bowing we pay the respect to the incomparable qualities of Triple Gems.The qualities of Lord Budda,the qualities of Great Dhamma,the qualities of Great Sanga.The object of worship is immaterial if the intention covers these points.Thus one can worship a small Buddha Statue ,Stupa or concrete Mound,a lay Teacher or a Monk.

4. When we bow this way the incomparable qualities of Triple Gems will get resonance in us.We will be embedded with Noble Qualities at least for that particular moment.

5. We can satisfy that we progress the Great Path to certain extent.

May all be free of sorrow,lamentation.


With Metta
Sanjay PS
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Sanjay PS »

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.



Excellent in every way and complete in every respect Sir . Thoroughly enjoyed in reading and sharing this quintessential wisdom of reverence with my family members too .

Thank you .
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka
User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6543
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Bowing to lay teachers

Post by Mkoll »

Sanjay PS wrote:
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.



Excellent in every way and complete in every respect Sir . Thoroughly enjoyed in reading and sharing this quintessential wisdom of reverence with my family members too .

Thank you .
Thank you kindly for bumping that, Sanjay PS. And thank you for the excellent advice, Bhante.

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Post Reply