Buddhist Practices

Buddhist worship takes the form of meditation, devotion to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and living with moral purity in one’s thoughts, words, and actions. It has a wide variety of manifestations. Mahayana Buddhists may sit on the floor barefoot, facing an image of the Buddha, listen to monks chanting from religious texts, and take part in prayers to elicit a spiritual experience. The Theravada tradition emphasizes religious practice for monks but minimizes its importance for the laity. In Tibetan Buddhist communities, it is common to use prayer beads, wheels, and flags to assist in prayer (mantras) with the goal of becoming a buddha oneself. Zen is a form of Buddhist meditation that rejects both theoretical knowledge and the study of religious texts in favor of direct, experiential realization through meditation. At home, Buddhists often designate a room as a shrine where they utilize a statue of Buddha, candles, and an incense burner in their ritual practice.