I listened to the lotus sutra as an audiobook. There I heard that when one presses the palms together in respect for the lotus sutra, it means that one has paid already homage to myriads of Buddhas in the past. Does that mean if I do this I am eligible to become a Buddha?

  • What does 'eligible to become a Buddha' mean to you? I am not sure what you have in mind. Feb 6 '20 at 16:12
  • Will I be able to? Because from what I’ve read/listened to you have to have paid homage to myriads of Buddhas before you are able to become a Buddha yourself. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    – Malik A
    Feb 6 '20 at 16:17
  • @MalikA - Don't worry. No need to pay homage to anyone. Somewhere along the line in your practice you might find yourself wanting to pay homage but that'll be your decision and by then you'll have some idea of the reason for it. You are definitely already eligible and have no choice in the matter. . .
    – user14119
    Feb 6 '20 at 16:45
  • 1
    If you’re making the effort to listen to the sutra in the first place, you’re paying plenty of homage already.
    – user17214
    Feb 7 '20 at 21:48

The greeting with joined palms is mentioned throughout the suttas. In general, the entire Sangha is worthy of such greeting:

DN33:1.11.105: ‘The Saṅgha of the Buddha’s disciples is practicing the way that’s good, straightforward, methodical, and proper. It consists of the four pairs, the eight individuals. This is the Saṅgha of the Buddha’s disciples that is worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods, worthy of hospitality, worthy of a religious donation, worthy of greeting with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world.’

Note the clarification about four pairs and eight individuals. The fourth pair comprises those perfected or practicing for perfection. But it takes more than simply paying homage. All of these eight individuals have undertaken the Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Immersion.

Even Gautama Buddha had to be encouraged to pay homage to a living Buddha. He had to be grabbed by the hair:

MN81:8.16: Then Ghaṭīkāra grabbed Jotipāla by the hair of his freshly-washed head and said, ‘Dear Jotipāla, the Buddha Kassapa’s monastery is not far away. Let’s go to see the Blessed One Kassapa, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. For I regard it as holy to see that Blessed One.’

It is good that you are paying homage to the Buddhas already. But perhaps more attention to the entire Noble Eighfold Path would be more effective than such simple observances?

  • Thanks but that is not Mahayana.
    – Malik A
    Feb 7 '20 at 19:06

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