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In religions with God, the believer or devotee can call on God for help during distress, pray to God to seek emotional relief, find a virtual shoulder to cry on and sing God's praises or glories for emotional upliftment (including the use of devotional music).

They also establish a personal relationship with God. In Christianity, one has the relationship of being a child of God. In Islam, one has the relationship of being a servant of God, created by Him and therefore must submit to Him. In Hinduism (Hare Krsna), one can see God as a friend, son, teacher, master, lover etc.

Whether God exists or not is not the point here for discussion. Certainly in the above cases, there may not be any tangible direct interaction with God, but the believer or devotee could often indirectly feel the presence of God or see good things that happen to them as miracles that come as a response to devotion and prayer.

The above describes the emotional support that one could get from religions that have a God. I know this exists in certain parts of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism too with Kwan Yin (Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara) and other Buddhist deities fulfilling the emotional support role of God. Chinese Buddhists have long composed songs and prayers to sing the glories of Kwan Yin, and they also call on Her during distress.

However, in Theravada Buddhism, there exists no such emotional support from any deity. So, what should the Theravada Buddhist do in these cases? For example, during sudden distress or grief or loneliness, how would the Theravada Buddhist seek emotional support or relief, without a deity? How does a Theravada Buddhist sooth his or her emotions without devotional music? With whom does the Theravada Buddhist seek a relationship when they find that their worldly relationships have failed them?

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You point out several supposed benefits of God and then ask how the godless fare without these benefits. I would first challenge the virtue of the benefits mentioned:


In religions with God, the believer or devotee can call on God for help during distress

Unless you believe God directly intervenes, for which there is no evidence whatsoever, calling on God for help seems as useful as calling on a milk carton for help. This cannot be accurately seen as a benefit, since it most obviously sets one up for disappointment and unreasonable expectation.

He who has eyes can see the sickening sight;
Why does not Brahma set his creatures right?

If his wide power no limits can restrain,
Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?

Why are his creatures all condemned to pain?
Why does he not to all give happiness?

Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail?
Why triumphs falsehood,—truth and justice fail?

I count your Brahma one th’ injust among,
Who made a world in which to shelter wrong.

-- Jat. 543 (Cowell, trans)


pray to God to seek emotional relief

Prayer is a lot like meditation so it can certainly have beneficial side effects, but since it relies on the presumption that an imaginary being will prevent harm or bring fortune, it falls under the same pitfalls as the first benefit. It is a lot like depending on a father figure to protect one - it is only beneficial if one's father actually exists.


find a virtual shoulder to cry on

By virtual, we would understand you to mean "imaginary". There is some benefit, surely, in imaginary friends, but in the end we would see this as a dependence. Catharsis is not recognized as beneficial in Theravada Buddhism; it is habit forming, and thus crying on anyone's shoulder, real or imaginary, is unwholesome behaviour that leads to craving, clinging, and further becoming.


and sing God's praises or glories for emotional upliftment (including the use of devotional music).

We do something similar in Buddhism, praising the virtues of the Buddha, and our chanting is similar in nature to this. So, this I would recognize as a virtue, qualified by the fact that the virtues of God are not all appealing to a Buddhist - believing God to be all-powerful, for example, is a sign of delusion, and not at all wholesome.

Either way, there is a similar practice:

I also say unto you O monks — if any fear, terror or hair standing on end should arise in you when you have gone to the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty house (lonely place), then think only of me thus:

"'Such Indeed is the Blessed One, arahant (Consummate One), supremely enlightened, endowed with knowledge and virtue, welcome being, knower of worlds, the peerless trainer of persons, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Blessed One.' Monks, if you think of me, any fear, terror, or standing of hair on end, that may arise in you, will pass away.

-- SN 11.3 (Piyadassi, trans)


They also establish a personal relationship with God.

Again the problem of an imaginary friend. Buddhism doesn't rely upon even the Buddha for support; as above, it's not that having imaginary friends is bad, it's that reliance on others is impractical, since all things change, including God, Buddha, etc.

And those monks who had not yet overcome their passions wept and tore their hair, raising their arms, throwing themselves down and twisting and turning, crying: ‘All too soon the Blessed Lord has passed away, all too soon the Well-Farer has passed away, all too soon the Eye of the World has disappeared!’ But those monks who were free from craving endured mindfully and clearly aware, saying: ‘All compounded things are impermanent — what is the use of this?’

Then the Venerable Anuruddha said: ‘Friends, enough of your weeping and wailing! Has not the Lord already told you that all things that are pleasant and delightful are changeable, subject to separation and to becoming other? So why all this, friends? Whatever is born, become, compounded is subject to decay, it cannot be that it does not decay. The devas, friends, are grumbling.’

-- DN 16 (Walshe, trans)


Certainly in the above cases, there may not be any tangible direct interaction with God, but the believer or devotee could often indirectly feel the presence of God or see good things that happen to them as miracles that come as a response to devotion and prayer.

Feeling the presence of God is just a feeling; one's association of one's feelings with the existence of God is merely conjecture. Buddhists have the same sort of feelings, but they recognize them simply as feelings. It is not considered a positive activity to cling to such feelings or ascribe meaning to them beyond their existential nature, since that leads to craving, clinging, and further becoming.

Seeing the good things that happen to one as miracles is pure speculation; it is often accompanied by (similarly speculative) rationalization when bad things happen. Neither is particularly wholesome, since they lead to unreasonable expectations and disappointment. More directly, they ignore the fact that there are perfectly natural causes and conditions that lead to all of one's experiences, and thus fail to attain understanding about the nature of reality - chalking it all up to "God's handiwork". This is a bad thing, since an understanding of reality is necessary to free oneself from suffering.

‘This, monks, the Tathāgata understands: These viewpoints thus grasped and adhered to will lead to such-and-such destinations in another world. This the Tathāgata knows, and more, but he is not attached to that knowledge. And being thus unattached he has experienced for himself perfect peace, and having truly understood the arising and passing away of feelings, their attraction and peril and the deliverance from them, the Tathāgata is liberated without remainder.

-- DN 1 (Walshe, trans)


So, your supposed benefits are, in all, not very impressive to a Theravada Buddhist. As to your questions:

For example, during sudden distress or grief or loneliness, how would the Theravada Buddhist seek emotional support or relief, without a deity?

We don't seek relief from emotions, we seek to understand emotions. It is by understanding something that one becomes free from it. The need for relief implies aversion, which becomes habit forming and leads to craving, clinging, and further becoming.

How does a Theravada Buddhist sooth his or her emotions without devotional music?

Same. Also, devotional music leads to sensual attachment, thus - you guessed it - craving, clinging, and further becoming.

With whom does the Theravada Buddhist seek a relationship when they find that their worldly relationships have failed them?

There is an underlying assumption here in the importance of relationships. In fact, Theravada Buddhism takes relationships quite seriously. As acknowledged, having a relationship with an imaginary friend can be helpful - a Buddhist's relationship with the Buddha is similar to this. But Theravada Buddhism sees more importance in one's relationship with one's teacher who is a tangible source of knowledge, advice, and exemplary behaviour very much unlike one's mental construction of God or the Buddha.

"Know I am Nārada by name,—a kassapa; my heavenly rest
I have just left to tell thee this,—to associate with the wise is best.

-- Jat. 539 (Cowell, trans)

  • Thank you for the great answer. The fear removal technique of SN 11.3 would also be helpful. – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 15:01
  • The Being called on for help need not be imaginary. He could be a Brahma or deva. In any case, these beings are not permanent. AN 11.16 says that one who practices Metta is protected by the devas. – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 16:54
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    @ruben2020 good point :) still, that has less to do with prayer and more to do with goodness... also, still conjecture for the most part as to whether one is actually receiving help. – yuttadhammo Apr 26 '15 at 17:03
  • Thank you, this is such a wonderful answer. Is there a view in the sutras about times when one is exceptionally overwhelmed and may need the support of imagery or the notion of being helped by a Divine being. Can one then rely on such a practice with an understanding of it's impermanence, and with a view of overcoming the crutch as soon as possible? – Parag Apr 28 '15 at 4:51
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    There can only be subjective evidence for the grace of a higher power. Those who have felt it know it as more real than any sense reality. Those who haven't deny it, quite naturally. Which isn't to say anyone is lying, they are merely putting forth their experience. It's not beneficial to deny one's reality just so one can confirm to a theoretical concept, such as Mahayana or Theravada. The truth is found within, for those who find such self reflection difficult in times of crisis, they can look outside to higher powers, who ultimately only serve as a vehicle for self reflection. – Buddho Apr 28 '15 at 6:25
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However, in Theravada Buddhism, there exists no such emotional support from any deity.

Yes this is the same problem i experienced.Having come from a back ground of devout Christianity i was very used to being soothed by praying.Theravada Buddhism seemed to be almost indifferent about this subject.And i had to go through a period of a hybrid religion,where i still prayed to God and practiced meditation to maintain emotional support.Then i stopped doing that because God stopped becoming a Being to me and became more of an Embodiment of certain qualities i would like to emulate.Qualities such as love,kindness,generosity,patience,etc.Qualities that i can see in the Buddha and in different religions.Qualities that i see in human beings and even animals and nature and myself.I realised that these qualities were universal.

So, what should the Theravada Buddhist do in these cases?

My need for a God vanished without a trace when i saw the workings of Karma. This is what changed my life.I saw it clearly and in some ways it took the place of God.So if anybody asked me what i believe in,i would say Karma.Like God,knowledge of karma protects your morality,it develops your wholesome qualities,it is what you base your aspirations on.

For emotional support,i recognized the same mental quality in praying to God,singing,reading scriptures as piti and sukhha.In fact i think some christians have an overwhelming amount of piti which puts them in a euphoric state.I can access these soothing states from samadhi meditation and it gives me a sense of contentment.Brahmaviharas gives the quality of spaciousness.I also develop faith either through reading the scriptures or through having faith in my meditation object.This is important in both vipassanna and samadhi for example when developing the jhanas or gaining insight one can then see for themselves that the Buddha really knew what he was talking about and this dispel doubt.If he was right about this he could be right about Nibbanna.

Also another important quality that comes with seeing the workings of karma is Equanimity.One just has to develop this because ..what other choice does one have.Especially when dealing with the result of past karma that is bearing fruit.You just have to meet it with equanimity.

Therefore for me this let go of my need for a God.As a God doesn't give us these qualities,they don't come from anything external.

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    Nice to know about your personal experience with Christianity and emotional relief from prayers, before moving to Buddhism. – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 15:05
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Usually a Buddhist isn't completely only a Theravadin and does use mantrayana methods to generate merit and ask for assistance from various deities which exist only to serve. There is no one to turn to in Theravada though (and in actuality) because there isn't really anyone that can absolve "our own" karma, Buddha or deity--otherwise the all-compassionate Buddhas would have already made things perfect for us.

Nonetheless, there is a solution to removing the suffering.

First of all recognizing the disadvantage and unskillfulness of experiencing sorrow or holding onto whatever emotion that is disadvantageous and generating a clear mind (that can actually accomplish one's goal).

This is done through a gradualistic means, starting with reasoning and gentle methods and if that doesn't work bashing and destroying the unskillful thoughts and emotions.

Look into their interdependent origination, come to full acceptance of it ("reality is reality whether you accept it or not") and then letting it go and exercising upekkha. This does not mean indifference. After coming to terms with the reality, one can become even more flexible, clear-minded, aware of the reality and able to create a better reality.

There is no magical process and the Buddhist psychology only facilitates the natural psychology of DABDA.

The Four Noble Truths contains all these lessons of course and more.

  • +1 for DABDA. I do agree that the Buddhist view leads to Acceptance sooner. – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 15:56
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In religions with God, the believer or devotee can call on God for help during distress

Some of the attributes of God include "eternal" and "omni-present" ... which (i.e. "God is always present with you") is a useful attribute, when you want a friend (or when you want a father, etc.).

Buddhists are taught to avoid putting their trust/faith into things (sights, senses, feelings, other people) which are impermanent, so perhaps Buddhists too develop a relationship with (i.e. an attachment to) that which is ever-present or, if there's no such thing, then they develop non-attachment.

They also establish a personal relationship with God

Apart from ideas like "Jesus is God and is also the Son of Man, and therefore God i.e. Jesus is a person too who you can relate with", I think that when you say "a personal relationship with God", there is only one person in that "personal relationship" (because God is not exactly a person).

And so, "a personal relationship with God" means "a person's relationship with God" not "a relationship between two people one of whom is God".

So if you're talking about "a person's relationship" it's possible for a person (i.e. a Buddhist) to develop their "personal relationship" with something other than the "God" of other religions.

Buddhists develop some relationship with some combination of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

For example, during sudden distress or grief or loneliness, how would the Theravada Buddhist seek emotional support or relief, without a deity?

In the same way that "hatred is allayed by non-hatred", perhaps sudden distress (instability) is allayed by stability. It seems to me that Dharma is fairly stable: always the same. For example,

  • Q: Why did my friend have to die?!!
  • A: Impermanence; non-self; suffering. Craving. Cessation.

It's not for me to say, but perhaps the personal message which you're supposed to get from God is fairly simple:

  • "Don't worry: God still loves you."
  • "Don't worry: what happens is God's will."

The message from Buddhist Dharma (impermanence, non-self, etc.) seems more complicated than that.

Unfortunately I don't believe or have faith in these messages from God (though maybe I should ;-).

I have more faith in the Buddhist message so, although it's more complicated, it's how I have been seeking emotional support.

How does a Theravada Buddhist sooth his or her emotions without devotional music?

Poetry, maybe? Or perhaps suttas, meditation; waiting for emotions to sooth themselves. The whole eight-fold way possibly.

With whom does the Theravada Buddhist seek a relationship when they find that their worldly relationships have failed them?

If you really want inter-'personal' relationships, then maybe seek new (or renewed) relationships with other 'people' (or animals).

Another possibility is that my friend, being human, was not very different from me (also human). If I'm alone I might think, "If my friend were here too ...". My friend would be more of the same (aggregates/skhandas) as me ...

"Worldy relationships have failed" sounds quite apocalyptic by the way. It reminds me of something slightly off-topic (non-Buddhist) i.e. a poem written by a Shivaite i.e. someone who sought a personal relationship with Shiva,

If it rains fire
    you have to be as the water;

if it is a deluge of water
    you have to be as the wind;

if it is the Great Flood
    you have to be as the sky;

and if it is the Very Last Flood of all the worlds,
    you have to give up self

and become the Lord.

More on-topic I think that things like Metta meditation may be intended to help train you to have (i.e. 'have' in the sense of 'to control or generate') stable 'unconditioned' emotions and relationships.

  • Thank you. It is true that where I used to think "it happened because it is God's will", now I'm inclined to see it as "nothing is permanent". – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 15:55
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    It's easy to have a simplistic or straw-man view of prayer: called "petitionary prayer" where you're asking for something (maybe a miracle). There are other forms and motives: communal ('we' pray together); egalitarian (all believers equal before God); social justice (forgiveness); ethics (remembering God's laws); thanksgiving; submission (to God's will); small needs (daily bread); etc. I wrote that there's only one person in a "personal relationship with God" but IMO religion is also a relationship between "a people" (i.e. several people, a society) and God. – ChrisW Apr 26 '15 at 16:22
  • The Being called on for help need not be imaginary. He could be a Brahma or deva. In any case, these beings are not permanent. AN 11.16 says that one who practices Metta is protected by the devas. – ruben2020 Apr 26 '15 at 16:55
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Just because there is no evidence that a God does anything to help (or even exists), we can't say that the activity of prayer doesn't seem soothing at all. It may be true that no real help may come from such a God, but the activity of prayer itself, might soothe the heart.

If we as Buddhists deny this or refuse to accept it, just because of "lack of evidence", we don't stand on very firm ground. In fact, there are many atheists and agnostics who claim that Buddhist meditation also doesn't have any of the positive effects that Buddhists attribute to it. Again, while the scriptures positively assert that in the fourth jhāna one can gain supranormal powers, many people scoff at these claims. Even some secular Buddhists say that such ideas are implausible. They too stake their claims on the lacuna of direct evidence.

That said, prayer is not the only way to soothe the heart. It is one of the ways. And it is not without serious dangers and pitfalls. Before I come to these, let me briefly talk about the ways of dealing with sudden sorrow, and briefly talk about the ways outlined in Theravada Buddhism.

A survey of ways to soothe the heart

Beings have invented a variety of techniques that help take the mind off of sudden grief and sorrow.

Activities such as drinking, smoking, adultery, etc. are the worst ways of dealing with pain. Even though they take the mind off the sorrow, they lead to regret, unhappiness, and ultimately to self-destruction - thus they are morally dark kamma. Incidentally, while some atheists or agnostics would recommend these activities, a Buddhist would never recommend these ways at all. In this sense, Buddhists are NOT your regular atheists.

Now come the morally neutral activities: really, prayer and calling God for help can be merely classed along with traveling, listening to music, reading books or poetry, or engaging in some hobby. This does not mean that a Buddhist would recommend prayer - it is just morally neutral, and takes the mind away from the sorrow temporarily. One may choose to use these if one sees them fit, but then again, one's judgement may not be very strong when struck by sudden sorrow. So these activities could even become a delusional prelude to something worse. Tread carefully when using these methods. We'll come to the pitfalls and dangers in a bit.

A better thing to do would be to engage in morally bright activities that can also take the mind off the sudden grief at the same time. This is what a Buddhist would recommend. Activities such as volunteering, donations, and community service are morally bright activities and help alleviate mental suffering, give the mind a sense of high self-esteem, and lighten the heart.

Theravada Buddhist Ways of soothing the heart

I listed above some morally bright activities that can take the mind off sudden grief. Many of these can be done by even non-Buddhists, but some of these are usually considered to be "Theravada Buddhist" methods. Although you don't have to be a Theravada Buddhist to try any of these, one could say so with due respect to the tradition that preserved these. It simply involves asking for advice and listening to stories of people that dealt with similar circumstances in a better way. This helps one take courage from the lives of such people.

Thus one can recollect the stories of the Buddha, his disciples, modern monks who faced similar circumstances, and even lay people among us that could serve as good examples. This sort of recollection (anussati) is the best recommended strategy for dealing with sudden grief. From my own personal experience, even before I turned a Buddhist, I remember that the act of crying and praying was not as useful as someone pointing out examples of people that achieved despite the odds stacked up against them, and despite repeated loss. I am especially thankful to my mother for doing that when I was a young despondent teenager.

In fact the whole of the Buddha's teaching is about providing a good example of a person that managed stress very skillfully. The Buddha says that there are two basic responses one may have to the web of samsāra and dukkha: a) bewilderment, b) seeking someone that knows a way or two out of this suffering. The Buddha's teaching supports precisely this second response.

Traditionally, there is the list of ten recollections, and at least the first four recollections - buddhānussati, dhammānussati, sanghānussati, devānussati - are truly activities of recollections that can lighten the heart. (I'll not go into details of how one uses these meditations. If you're not familiar with them, I recommend reading the book "A meditator's tools" - by Thānissaro Bhikkhu)

But this is not all! The other six reflections (6 satis in the ten recollections group) can also have a soothing effect on the heart if used skillfully. A young Indian boy named Venkataramana lost his father, whom he admired and loved a lot. In his grief, he recollected how his father's body had become upon death. He considered how it would be if he too were to die. He imagined his own body as dead, and reflected on the imminent possibility of death. While to some of us, this sort of thinking could drive us into depression, young Ramana became cool, and calm, entered meditative states and decided to renounce everything and search for inner peace. He went on to become one of the most famous spiritual masters of 20th century Asia: Sri Ramana Maharishi.

So the methods of practice that the Buddha recommended work even for non-Buddhists. You don't have to be a Buddhist for these methods to work. You only have to be skillful in using them. What's more: Theravada Buddhism offers a whole array of techniques. In fact the whole religion is about dealing with suffering.

Dangers and pitfalls of petitionary prayer

It doesn't matter if the one prayed to, is imaginary or not, or is even capable of helping or not. Even if one were to pray to one's political ruler (who may be living), and ask for help, there are significant dangers and pitfalls involved in the act of prayer and important reasons to be extremely careful. For brevity, I shall list only two dangers and two pitfalls, although there are many more.

Danger 1: Justified aversion When one sees oneself as a victim in need of help, one could see someone else as a villain. This could be anything between one that really makes fun of you in your misery, to one that is just indifferent to your misery. All of them are seen as villains. And these people can be the target of our aversion. We can see this tendency in almost every single religious lore.

In Numbers 31:1-4:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm ye men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD'S vengeance on Midian. Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.

Even in the Mahabharata the battle of Kurukshetra is justified as it is said to be done for the "establishment of Dharma". The Pandavas who patronize Krishna (considered God by the Hindus) avenge their humiliation, and even claim that God is on their side. Even killing one's grandfather and teacher are justified under the guise of social duty (caste duty for kshatriyas).

Even Germany justified starting WWII by reminding the world of the humiliation they had to undergo in 1919. And the people of Germany looked on for a savior. That this savior (Fuhrer) happened to be human doesn't make much difference - the people's attitude was that of praying to this savior to help Germany. And in the process, they justified everything this savior did.

Danger 2: Being beguiled In some cases, one may talk to a priest that may recommend a particular expensive religious service, where the religious body may benefit, but really gives little solace to the sponsor. Some may not see much danger in this, but the first danger is in trusting a person that makes a business out of people in distress. If the priest makes a business out of such activities, he is not gaining merit from the prayer - instead it can be dangerous for him. And if the sponsor pays his respects to such a misled priest it can be equally dangerous to him.

Additionally, some priests get you to perform some rituals - such as sacrificing an animal. Believing that such acts would help, one engages in what is actually dangerous kamma. And such kamma is detrimental in the long term, whether or not one is aware that it is immoral.

Pitfall 1: Breeds non-chalance and heedlessness In a few cases, our misfortune is caused by our own stupid actions. In those cases, it is very important to learn from one's experience. Petitionary prayer could lead to complacency and heedlessness (pamāda). The last words of the Buddha were about heedfulness (appamāda).

Pitfall 2: Deceptive consolation Prayer and crying on someone's shoulder (whether virtual or real) could have the effect of generating self-pity and a growing sense of entitlement for self-pity. If one's parents or children die, grief is but inevitable. And people might even feel sympathy. But sometimes, people grieve just to win sympathy. The act of prayer feeds the mind's tendency to wish for sympathy.

A donation made out of free will, as an expression of one's gratitude for the guidance provided is totally different from payment for a religious service meant to soothe the heart. The act of donating gives a sense of wealth. But the act of payment for a prayer service at a religious institution reinforces a sense of poverty and self-pity.

Conclusions

Prayer may be a morally neutral activity, but has some serious pitfalls that easily delude the psychologically weak. Instead of praying for help, it is much better to engage in activities such a donating, community service, volunteering, or even hearing stories of people that faced similar circumstances, and learning lessons from them. These activities can renew one's energy, lift one's mood, keep one engaged, and also enter deep states of concentration, which can act as a platform for developing insight and attain full liberation from all suffering.

0

asked: With whom does the Theravada Buddhist seek a relationship when they find that their worldly relationships have failed them?

Relations are always wordily. If relations are abounded, that has become already the beyond. As for the way, the "buddhist" practice: a Dhammica seeks for relation with the three Juwels, Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha.

The Verses on Respect

Satthu-garu dhamma-garu One with respect for the Buddha & Dhamma,

Saṅghe ca tibba-gāravo, and strong respect for the Saṅgha,

Samādhi-garu ātāpī, one who is ardent, with respect for concentration,

Sikkhāya tibba-gāravo, and strong respect for the Training,

Appamāda-garu bhikkhu, one who sees danger and respects being heedful,

Paṭisanthāra-gāravo: and shows respect in welcoming guests:

Abhabbo parihānāya, A person like this cannot decline,

Nibbānasseva santike, stands right in the presence of Nibbana.

It's a terrible missconception and total path destroying to spread that devotion does not or only less works as a fundamental tool.

There are two wonderful essays/talks, which, if finding the right devotional attitude in regard of the blessing meeting teacher, might change ones non-dhammic believes and bring one on track:

Devotion in Buddhism, by late Ven. Nyanaponika Thera

Respect, Confidence and Patient and Opening the Door to the Dhamma - Respect in Buddhist Thought & Practice, by Ven Thanissaro Thera

General infos and explaings in regard of respect and devotion might be found here: Respect and Veneration

Showing disrespect toward the Three Gems is a serious break of the Base, cutting one off. If such might happen to one, one should quickly confess it and renew one refuge. Out of that case Dhammic-Refugees with solide confidence cite daily in the evening:

Kāyena vācāya va cetasā vā, Buddhe kukammaṃ pakataṃ mayā yaṃ, Buddho paṭiggaṇhatu accayantaṃ, Kālantare saṃvarituṃ va buddhe. Whatever bad kamma I have done to the Buddha [same for Dhamma, Sangha] by body, by speech, or by mind, may the Buddha accept my admission of it, so that in the future I may show restraint toward the Buddha [Dhamma, Sangha].

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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