Honor and Worship

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Honor and Worship

Post by Denisa » Sat May 31, 2014 3:36 am

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 1
Yesterday I saw on another thread Mr. B asking a new member (Mr. C) to behave with respect towards "an established member" (Mr. A). Also, I read below quoted writing on page# 23, the link to the full PDF is in the 2nd post.
Honor and Worship

The brahmins of ancient India claimed that they were entitled to respect simply because they belonged to a particular social group. The Buddha criticized this idea saying that it was the virtuous and the wise who were really worthy of respect. From this position Theravada has come full circle back to the Brahminical idea. According to the Milindapanha even a lay man who has attained the first stage of awakening must stand up and worship a novice who has no attainments (Mil.162). Monks insist that they should be respected and revered simply because they wear a yellow robe and like the brahmins of old they can get very piqued if they do not receive it. It is fascinating to see the lengths Theravadin monks will go to in order to maintain their supposed superiority in the eyes of others. P. A. Bigandet writes of a scene he witnessed in Penang towards the end of the 19th century.

A Thai monk had to visit a man confined in the upper room of a house. To see him the monk would have to enter the ground floor room of the house meaning that for at least a few moments he would be lower than the lay man - anathema for a Theravadin monk. What to do? The monk ordered a ladder to be bought and placed with one end on the ground and the other on the upstairs window and he climbed into the man’s room that way. I have not heard of this sort of thing being done nowadays but I do know that Theravadin monks will even publish books instructing people on how to respect them correctly.

-The Broken Buddha by S. Dhammika
Perhaps we can examine the idea of "honor and worship".

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Re: Honor and Worship

Post by mikenz66 » Sat May 31, 2014 6:01 am

That's a bizarre example that may well be true (all kinds of things do happen), but none of the monks I know (some of them abbots of large Thai monasteries) act like that.

And while status may well be foremost in the mind of some monks, and some lay people may approach the situation from that point of view, I think that would be missing the point. To me, the point of paying respect to a monastic is to develop a sense of humility in oneself. It's not about oppression, honour, or worship.


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Re: Honor and Worship

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat May 31, 2014 8:02 am

Any other person already has my huge and limitless respect.
What they then say and do, tempers the amount of respect I have for them.

Respect is based on personal judgement.
This is something I believe we all have a duty to work on.
It is something, of course, I need to work upon, myself.

Please note:
Do not confuse 'Respect' with any element of the 4 Brahma-Viharas.
All humans are deserving in that case, without exception.

Simply because a person is respectful or disrespectful, does not make them less human. But it can demonstrate their humanity.
It's just a question of taming and transcending emotional attachment to what we believe we deserve, or others deserve.
Physical presence makes a difference.

It's far too easy on a forum, where others are faceless and unknown, to be more liberal with expression.

Should that be the case? Shouldn't it?
I don't know.
It just is.


You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.


Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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Re: Honor and Worship

Post by Denisa » Sat May 31, 2014 10:17 am

Perhaps ladder monk has OCD, I too found it to be weird, and a good way to make a fool out of oneself.

Regarding respect, at times when my children behaved stubbornly without listening to me, I looked at my self. Was I advising them unfairly being the big boss. When I became a friend to them with fairness and consideration, and also when I communicate with them without harsh words they easily listen to me. In the end it's my own behaviour and quality is the governing factor of another's respect towards me. I never treat others as inferior, because I don't like the same treatment. Personally, I loose my wholesome happiness if a thought come to my mind: "I deserve more respect!"

In Mangala Sutta, Buddha said: "To honour those who are worthy of honour — this is the greatest blessing."

Also, I found this on the page# 25 of the same PDF which mentioned in the 1st post.
In another place the Buddha says, ‘I have nothing to do with homage and homage has nothing to do with me’ (A.III,30).

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Re: Honor and Worship

Post by Denisa » Sat May 31, 2014 11:54 pm

As mikenz66 pointed out, this kind of humility from a monk will naturally make anyone wants to honor and respect him. Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... i/bam.html
As soon as I crossed the threshold and set eyes on the Ven. Ananda Maitreya, all my fears were dispelled like the morning mist before the rising sun. It was no stern, cold, ascetic glare that met my questioning eyes, but a bright radiant kindness, a natural simplicity, and a twinkling immediacy of presence which instantly put me at ease. At once I felt delighted that my kamma, and the good offices of Ven. Piyadassi, had brought me into contact with such a luminous being. My fears of bowing in the wrong way were also laid to rest. As soon as I came up close to the Mahanayaka Thera to begin my bow, he waved me towards a chair, as though he thought he should not impose Asian monastic formalities on a visitor from urbane America. Of course, I did not accept his invitation but made the customary triple prostration — with no fear at all that a pair of censorious eyes would be watching to see where I would trip up.

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Re: Honor and Worship

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:26 am

"Towards whom should one avoid conceit?
Towards whom should one show reverence?
To whom should one be ever respectful?
Whom is it proper to venerate deeply?"

[The Blessed One:]
"First one's own mother and father,
Then one's eldest family brother,
Then one's teacher as the fourth:
Towards these one should avoid conceit;
Towards these one should be reverential;
These should be well respected;
These it is good to venerate deeply.

Having struck down conceit, humble,
One should pay homage to the arahants,
Those cool of heart, their tasks done,
The taintless ones, unsurpassed."

-SN 7.15
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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