Lankan dating Cam

(iii) Those rituals that have been adopted from folk religion.

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These supplementary forms of religious activity have arisen out of a natural need to augment the more austere way followed by the world-renouncing disciples.

(ii) Acts directed towards securing worldly prosperity and averting calamities through disease and unseen forces of evil, e.g., pirit chanting, bodhi-puja, etc.

Devotion being the intimate inner side of religious worship, it must have had a place in early Buddhism.

While the specific forms of ritual and ceremony in Sri Lankan popular Buddhism doubtlessly evolved over the centuries, it seems likely that this devotional approach to the Dhamma has its roots in lay Buddhist practice even during the time of the Buddha himself.

Thus in practical life the gap between the "great tradition" of canonical Buddhism and the average person's world of everyday experience is bridged by a complex round of ceremonies, rituals, and devotional practices that are hardly visible within the canonical texts themselves.

Rather, they should come to recognize the devotional manifestation of Buddhism as an essential feature of the tradition, needed to mediate between its exalted ideals and the everyday concerns of the vast majority of its followers. However, side by side with this austere, intellectually sophisticated Buddhism of the texts, we find in Sri Lanka a warm current of devotional Buddhism practiced by the general Buddhist populace, who may have only a hazy idea of the Buddhist doctrine.

The fact remains, however, that the practices and observances to be described here justly claim an integral place within the stream of living Buddhism as practiced by its adherents.

Samyutta Nikaya The theme of this study, Buddhist ceremonies and rituals, may not appeal to the self-styled Buddhist purist who wishes to restrict the designation "Buddhism" exclusively to the teachings of the Buddhist scriptures, which he usually interprets in a narrowly intellectualist manner.

The Buddha did discourage the wrong kind of emotional attachment to himself, as evidenced by the case of Vakkali Thera, who was reprimanded for his obsession with the beauty of the Buddha's physical presence: his was a case of misplaced devotion (S.iii,119).

Ritualistic observances also pose a danger that they might be misapprehended as ends in themselves instead of being employed as means for channelling the devotional emotions into the correct path.

A composite unity consisting of a number of subordinate ritualistic acts may be called a ceremony.

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