Customs and Rituals

Is there a standard Buddhist liturgical worship?

Buddhist denominations that emphasize communal worship exhibit considerable variation in their services. Recitation of sacred texts is the single most common element. One Japanese Pure Land denomination uses the following “order of service.” After a call to worship expressing prayerful intent, worshippers pronounce the “Three Refuges,” invoke the presence of the Buddha, praise him, make a symbolic confession of sins, and recite the name of Amida Buddha ten times. Then follows a segment of scriptural chanting, explicitly dedicated to rebirth in the Pure Land. Again invoking the name of Amida Buddha ten times, worshippers reflect on its deeper meaning. Between two further invocations of the name, they recite from the teachings of founder Honen. After a recitation of the vows of the Bodhisattva the ritual concludes with the “Three Refuges” and a final prayer to send the Buddha back to his heavenly abode.


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