How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

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mikenz66
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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by mikenz66 »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:00 am
It's Burmese tradition in dealing with Buddha, Sangha, and the elders, imo.
OK, thanks for the clarification. As you'll know, there is centuries of rivalry (and war) between Burmese and Thai (perhaps more accurately Ayyutya) so it is unsurprising that there are differences in custom.

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Keith
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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Keith »

There a clear schematic of the Thai method of five-point prostration somewhere?

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Keith »

Nevermind, found some brilliant diagrams here:

https://suvacobhikkhu.wordpress.com/meditation-manuals/

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by mikenz66 »

Here's a video with male and female examples of Thai-style prostrations. Thai explanation with subtitles. I can't vouch for the accuracy of all the details, but it looks familiar to me...
One of the challenges is being able to bend at the waist so the knees stay as bent as possible. Note how the woman manages that.



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Keith
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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Keith »

I find bending my toes like that very uncomfortable. Hopefully, with more practice, it will be less uncomfortable

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

.

Some Thai ladies


Image
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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:47 am
"Lotus Bud" ... .In any case, it's much more natural and easy for me to have my palms slightly apart, so that's how I've always done it.
  • Congrats. 👍🏻
    As for me, I usually do it only before monks :lol: I came to know clearly about the "bud" relatively late in my life, so it doesn't seem to be my second nature yet. Accordingly, when I do the bud while listening to Dhamma delivered by monks, my mind is on the bud, not on the Dhamma :cry:
Then, when I was in Hong Kong for a few months, someone at the group I was attending pointed out that I was "kneeling like a woman" :tongue: so I learned to be up on my toes.
  • I prefer that "up on one's toe" method, more convenient. Strangely, I also feel more manly in that position :thinking:
Thai bhikkhus using a cloth to receive gifts from females, which I believe is not the custom in Sri Lanka).
  • :bow:
    My personal opinion is that this culture should be adopted as a "rule" by monks from other countries, including Burma. I think it effectively conveys some boundaries, literally as well as figuratively.

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by mikenz66 »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:53 am
.

Some Thai ladies


Image
Yes, Thai people often do that for monks on alms round, since it's not so convenient to kneel on the ground in that case... But I've never seen a Thai person start from that position and then go into a prostration.

Of course, I've not observed every Thai person, so my anecdotal observations are not proof...

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by mikenz66 »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:32 pm
Thai bhikkhus using a cloth to receive gifts from females, which I believe is not the custom in Sri Lanka).
  • :bow:
    My personal opinion is that this culture should be adopted as a "rule" by monks from other countries, including Burma. I think it effectively conveys some boundaries, literally as well as figuratively.
I've heard a number of Bhikkhus say how difficult it is for them when they are in mixed Thai-Sri Lankan setting, which is not uncommon in the West. The Sri Lankan women are offended by the cloth, the Thai outraged if they don't use it.

In fact, my experience is that if anyone is going to tell you off in a monastery it's a lay woman. No monks I know would bother (unless you are their student, in which case they might quietly give advice). The really important thing to avoid, if you want to avoid the wrath of the lay, is pointing your feet at the monks or the Buddha images.

However, I do recall being lectured by a Sri Lankan woman about how to offer the food that I (and my wife - who is Thai - so it should have been obvious that we were not newcomers to monasteries) had brought. We hadn't even had a chance to do anything wrong yet! I've learned to just smile and nod in such circumstances...

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:21 pm
...
The really important thing to avoid, if you want to avoid the wrath of the lay, is pointing your feet at the monks or the Buddha images.

However, I do recall being lectured by a Sri Lankan woman about how to offer the food that I (and my wife - who is Thai - so it should have been obvious that we were not newcomers to monasteries) had brought. We hadn't even had a chance to do anything wrong yet! I've learned to just smile and nod in such circumstances...
...



Yes, Mike. Personally, I agree, with the feet thing.

However, they're just cultural differences, imo. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" ... is somewhat applicable, here. Of course, what I mean is that "it' is not a very bad idea to understand the Romans' way of doing, while one is in Rome." I'm not saying it is a good idea to try pointing my feet out to monks at every opportunity while I'm in Rome :lol:




Once, a famous Sayadaw who came back to Myanmar after delivering some Dhamma talks in Sri Lanka, shared something about his experience to Burmese people something like:
  • "Sri Lankan people are very pious and devout people." ... "they are a good audience giving relevant responses appropriate to the flow of the Dhamma talk"... etc.,
and explained the cultural differences while listening to Dhamma, giving the example of position of feet as you've mention. And, the feet were no problem for him.


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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by MettaDevPrac »

Mikenz66:
...Thai bhikkhus using a cloth to receive gifts from females, which I believe is not the custom in Sri Lanka)."
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta:
"My personal opinion is that this culture should be adopted as a "rule" by monks from other countries, including Burma. I think it effectively conveys some boundaries, literally as well as figuratively."
Lots of new people on the forum lately. Perhaps this might be interesting.

This local custom hasn't been made a formal rule, has it? I understand from http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... qmonks.htm that this is a scrupulous behavior, but in this way:
The Vinaya Rule specifies that if a bhikkhu touches or is touched by a woman, it is an offence — a very serious offence — only if the bhikkhu is overcome by lust, with altered mind . However, the practising bhikkhu knows that as his mind changes so quickly, he has to be extremely cautious about involving himself in doubtful situations. It is better to be safe than sorry, even if this may seem over-scrupulous. In emergency situations the bhikkhu will have to decide for himself and be sure to take care of his thoughts. In Thailand it is a tradition (not strictly a rule) that the monk uses a 'receiving cloth' to emphasize that there is no touching.
Bhante Sujato commented on this custom In his book _White Bones, Red Rot, Black Snakes_
The use of the ‘receiving cloth’, unknown in
the Vinaya or any other Buddhist land, is sternly insisted upon. It is cer-
tainly a convenient way for monks to be able to accept gifts from women
while remaining ritually isolated from their impurity. Even bhikkhus from
other Theravāda countries regard this practice with disdain; K. Sri Dham-
mananda, the late Chief Monk of Malaysia, told me the use of the receiving
cloth was a ‘Brahmanical’ custom.
Bhante Sujato also commented on another custom:
Many temples do not allow women to circumnambulate around
the stupas. There is clear evidence of it particularly in the north of
Thailand. This practice cannot find any support in the actual Buddhist
teaching but is commonly believed and handed down as custom. This
belief in fact found its root in Hinduism where women are seen as
religiously unclean because of their menstruation.
I think of the first two stanzas of the Dhammapada as translated by Bhikkhu Ānandajoti,
Mind precedes thoughts, mind is their chief, their quality is made by mind,
if with a base mind one speaks or acts,
through that suffering follows him like a wheel follows the ox’s foot.

Mind precedes thoughts, mind is their chief, their quality is made by mind,
if with pure mind one speaks or acts,
through that happiness follows him like a shadow which does not depart.
... I think of how bhikkhus' behavior teaches, adults and children. What's this lesson?
- MettaDevPrac

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by EmptyShadow »

Reading about the cultural differences reminds me of a story from Ajahn Chah and his observations of differences between Thai customs and the West.
If we invest things with our views and beliefs, then they immediately gain value – they can become sacred or holy objects. But
without our projections, nothing has any intrinsic worth. We Thais take the head to be the most exalted part of the body. We don’t let
anybody touch our heads in jest; it makes us so angry that, in the past, it has even led people to kill each other. It is because of a view
that we won’t let people touch our heads, a deeply entrenched attachment. When I was abroad, I saw the Westerners touching each other’s
heads quite freely. One of the Western monks took me to visit his parents. As soon we arrived, he put out his hand and touched his father’s head affectionately. He stroked his father’s head and laughed. And his father was really happy about it! To him, it meant that his son loved him.
That’s how it is over there. Ajahn Chah

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Re: How would you place your hands when bowing/saluting the shrine/showing respect to monastics

Post by MettaDevPrac »

It is because of a view
So wise, a dispassionate examination. Ajahn Chah's words a gift to the world, full of Dhamma. :namaste:
- MettaDevPrac

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