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Buddhist Worshiping Ways & Pujas
Buddhist pujas (poojas) are different to pujas which are offered to Gods. Buddhist pujas are done as a way to respect the wisdom of Lord Buddha, Dharma & Noble Sangha. But God's pujas are done to please gods or to offer energy to them. Buddhist people do different types of pujas. Here below we discuss pujas which are only related to the Buddhist tradition. Puja's are used to show our respects, acceptance & refuge. In the Theri & Thera Apadana Pali & Vimana Vattu verses of the Sutra Pitakaya, it describes the kinds of pujas which help to attain or progress towards Nibbana (Enlightenment) or be reborn into the heavens after our death. Also these pujas help to reduce our negative karmic energy & activate our past life positive karma. Some people think pujas only affect us in the next life, but actually doing pujas help us to gain success in this life both in the material world & for wisdom. From a psychological perspective, these types of pujas help to reduce our stress, make our mind calm & increase wisdom. Buddhist Pujas help us to be reborn in the heavens, because the heavenly realms have the following characteristics which are non-existent in the human world...
  • In the human world, we are born after residing roughly 6 months in uterine space which is a unhygienic place in the women’s body, but gods are born as a mirror creation whilst seeing beautiful environments without any painful birth.
  • An inborn child is not able to look after themselves, but inborn gods can do anything as soon as they are reborn.
  • Gods and goddesses are reborn with a youthful appearance (around the age of 30 – 35 in the human world) with their own clothes, houses, gardens & ornaments.
  • Humans live a very short life span in comparison to Gods. This time is not enough to do their desired works, but gods have a vast life time so they can take on many projects & practice Dharma without many distractions.
  • God's don't age and possess any unusual skin colors, corrugation or body sicknesses.
  • God's houses, gardens and properties do not need to be maintained like in the human world, because they don't decay or become dusty.
  • In heaven there are gods & goddesses who saw & spoke with Lord Buddha, so we can meet such gods and learn pure Dharma which was told by Buddha.
  • Gods can see many things by using their Divine-Eye such as sufferings existing in the hell realms.
  • Heavens don't have much possibility for beings to commit sins as big as in the human world.
  • Even if we behave responsibly and act with kindness, there is still a possibility due to our past life sins or other reasons that we may fall into trouble or be trapped and become imprisoned because of legal reasons, but these type of scenarios are not possible in heavens.

Sri Lankan Buddhist pujas can be categorized as following

  • Offer sweet odors & colorful flowers for virtue powers of Lord Buddha, Dharma & Noble Sangha
  • Light incense sticks & offer odors for infinite precepts & concentration of Lord Buddha
  • Light oil lamps or colorful bulbs for wisdom of Lord Buddha
  • Foods (drinks & meals) pujas for Lord Buddha & Sangha 
  • Offer & keep flags with calm colors for Lord Buddha near the stupas or Bodi trees
  • Offer clothes & other important things for sangha or temple
  • Bodhi pujas as respect to wisdom of Lord Buddha near Bodhi tree
  • Stupa pujas as respect to Enlightened monks & Buddha
  • Visiting temples & meditation centers for calming our minds
  • Help to maintain or build new temple or meditation rooms
  • Pilgrimage places related to Lord Buddha's life time incidents
  • Datu puja as respect for Lord Buddha & Sangha
  • Wisdom puja for the last exited 28 Lord Buddha or Pachchaka Buddha.
  • Blessing puja for Mitree Bodhisattva, as future Buddha

Buddhist Pilgrimage

Bodhi Puja
This is common merit work done by every Buddhist to respect the wisdom of Buddha. Hence we decide to tell you how we can perform the Bodhi puja correctly. Before doing a Bodhi puja, you must wash your body & mouth. You must prepare fresh pure water mixed with some sweet smells or flowers like jasmine into a pitcher. Also you need flowers, incense sticks & oil lamps for the Bodhi puja. This puja is done as respect to the unlimited wisdom of Lord Buddha which was attained near the Bodhi three. It is good you choose a temple with a lack of people. After you prepare those goods, you must wear white or yellow colored clothing. Firstly you must offer a flower basket in front of Bodhi three, light oil lamps & incense sticks. After that, for a small amount of time you must do simple meditation. Then you can say some Buddha worshiping verses or you can recall the nine virtues of Lord Buddha via your mind. Then you must take the water pitcher into your hand, go around the Bodhi tree & recall the nine virtuous sentences of Lord Buddha. Whilst doing this, you want to put little water drops to roots of the Bodhi tree in all four directions. Till the water pitcher finishes you must recall the virtue powers of Buddha. After that you can sit down and say loudly Buddhist sutras such as Keraniya Metta, Ratana, Maha Mangala, Anattma Lakkana, Damsak Pawatum, etc. For this puja you can use Buddhist books. Then again you must meditate some time such as 15 minutes then you should transfer merits to gods. While performing a Bodhi puja, it is good concentrate on the sound of leaves of trees & feel the environmental calmness. You must use at least one hour to do the Bodhi puja correctly.
Stupa or Datu Puja
This puja is also the same as a Bodhi Puja but you don't use water, only using flowers, incense sticks & oil lamps. Stupa is a building which has noble relics of Lord Buddha or noble Sangha. Every Bodhi tree, temple or stupa is protected by particular god therefore while you do such puja, you can get the attraction of this god too. This is powerful merit work which can be done by everyone without wasting money. Datu means Buddha's or enlightened monk's used goods, skeleton parts, signs, marks or symbols. Popular datu is Lord Buddha's left foot print on the top of the mountain called Siripadha in Sri Lanka. Other world famous datu is Lord Buddha's left tooth at the temple of the tooth or right tooth in Somawathi stupa. In Kelani temple, there is a gem chair which was used by Lord Buddha to sit down when visiting Sri Lanka. White Ruwanwelisaya stupa in Anuradhapura which was built by King Dutugamunu, also has relics of Buddha & enlightened Sangha's skeleton parts. Because Buddha & Noble Sangha learned how to eradicate pain, suffering & rebirthing, we give respect to those stupa & datu.
Offer Flowers, Oil Lamps, Incense Sticks & Foods
Buddhist people offer flowers for Buddha, Dharma & Sangha for their virtue powers. These flowers must be small such as Jasmine. Flowers can be of different colors. But normally we do not include heavy & large red flowers. These flowers must be put into a basket made from woods plastic, brass or gold. For datu pujas, we only use white small flowers. Red, white & blue water flowers can also be used for pujas. When we keep flowers, we understand the unsteadiness via seeing flowers that have become faded over time. As well as flowers, we worship Buddha from oil lamps as a sign of respect to the ultimate wisdom of Lord Buddha. Oils must be made from coconut, king coconut or sandalwood. Lamps used to light oils must made from brass, gold or mud. Incense sticks are used to respect the strict precepts & Samadhi concentration of Lord Buddha. Incenses must be flowers or sandalwood smells. Buddha puja room can made in a neat room with a tall table with a Buddha statue, Bodi leaves & small stupa where you can offer flowers, odors & oil lamp to Lord Buddha in your home. People offer meals for Lord Buddha at their home because it is said merit incomes of this puja is the as same as offering meals to a living Lord Buddha. It is good to keep in mind that hard foods such as rice & curry should be offered only during morning 5am to 8am & 11am to 1pm only. But soft drinks, juices & porridges can be offered any time of the day but most appropriate times are 10am & 3pm to 7pm.
Visiting Places related to Buddhism (Pilgrimages)
Lord Buddha said in Parinirvana sutra that visiting historic places & relics of Buddha or fully enlightened Sangha help to gain powerful merit incomes till we reach nibbana. Buddha especially said that four places which are related to Buddha’s life incidents are very helpful to pilgrimage & gain merits. These are: the place where Buddha was born (Lumbini Sala Park), location where Buddha became enlightened (Buddhagaya), place where Buddha preached his first sutra called Dharma Circle (Migadaya) & the location where Buddha passed away (Kusiranawa). Apart from these places other places in India which are very important such as the temple where Buddha said lot of sutras & stayed a longtime such as Jetawanaramaya & Isipatanaramaya. In Sri Lanka there have lot of places & temples which have Buddha's datus, branches of Bodhi trees, stupas & temples. When visiting these places our mind becomes calm & relaxed, this is the noble feeling which helps to gain merits. All Sri Lankan Buddhists must worship these places such as Temple of the tooth which has the left tooth of Buddha, right tooth of Buddha in Somawathi stupa near to Polonnaruwa, Kiriwahera temple where Buddha stayed in Nirodha Samadhi for seven days, Kelaniya temple where Buddha preached Dharma in Sri Lanka, Siri Padha mountain which has the mark of Buddha's left foot & Sri Maha Bodhi tree where has the first branch of the great Bodhi tree.
Puja For Past 28 Lord Buddhas
Another puja done by Buddhist people is called Wisdom puja done for the past existed 28 Buddhas. Some temples in Sri Lanka have stupas for 28 Buddhas, but some temples don't. Hence we can do this puja near any Bodhi tree or temple or stupa. In this puja, we offer & light 28 oil lamps for unlimited wisdom, knowledge & skills of the past exited 28 Buddha. You can also offer 28 water flowers and light 28 incense sticks for their Precepts & Samadhi around the Bodhi tree. Our Lord Buddha also did this puja in his Bodhisattva life times for gaining merit for wisdom. This puja especially helps to gain merit in taking the right decisions & getting rid of wrong decisions in our personal life. This is a very powerful puja therefore good to do every month. Here are names of last 28 Buddha as Buddha Vansa Pali in Sutra Pitakaya :

Tanhankara - Madankara - Saranankara - Dipankara
Kondanghagha - Mangala - Sumana - Rawathi
Sohitha - Anomadassi - Paduma - Naradha
Padumothtara - Sumadha - Sujatha - Piyadassi
Athtadassi - Dhammadassi - Sidhartha - Tissa
Pussha - Vipassi - Siki - Vessabhu
Kakusandha  - Konagamana - Kassapa - Gautama
Blessing Puja For Mitree Bodhisattva
Mitree Bodhisattva is gaining merit to become the next Lord Buddha. He is currently residing in Tusita heaven or 4th heaven as a powerful god. He said to be god of gods. He is the one who has ultimate merit powers among all other living beings in this universe. In Mahayana Buddhism, people give first place to this god. But Theravada people can ask for blessing, protection & helps from this Mitree bodhisattva god. This god is different than other gods, because he does not have a  luxury life in heaven & does meditation, observe precepts & preaches Dharma for other gods. So we don't do the same Buddha puja as for our Lord Buddha the great Gautama. Instead we can offer milk rice without curries, pure water glass, fruit juices & only one fruit for this god in our homes. Also unlike a Buddha puja, we want to offer meals in the morning, lunch & night for this god & drinks can be offered anytime. Only flowers, incense sticks & oil lamps should be offered for Mitree bodhisattva in morning times. Flowers offered to Mitree god should be a basket of white small flowers or water flowers such as three white lotuses only. You want to light incense smells of sandalwood & oil lamps from king coconut oils or sandalwood oils. You want to do this puja after the main Buddha Puja. After that transfer merit of Buddha puja for Mitree god then do puja for Mitree bodhisattva. As we know, every other gods also offer flowers & worship Mitree bodhisattva god because of his ultimate merit powers.

Merit Incomes of Some Buddhist Pujas

  • Worshiping triple gem or Lord Buddha : Increases life span, pleasant body color, attain properties, gain luxury life & gain powers in this life and next life. An unlucky person becomes lucky one, if he or she correctly worships Lord Buddha everyday.
  • Offer flowers : Become popular and polite person to everyone in heavens & human world. Offer white flowers especially help to attain Divine-Eye. 
  • Offer bulbs & light lamps : Attain Divine-Eye, attain wisdom, radiate long body aura and attain healthy eyes.
  • Offer odors & light incense sticks : Become popular and pleasant person with good precepts. Attain good Samadhi concentration in meditations. 
  • Offer water : Become leader with pleasant body color, huge lifetime, luxury, followers, powers and can satisfy all body pleasures or likenesses.
  • Offer evening drinks : Attain long lifetime, have body energy, wise, nice body color, earn followers, have luxury, get rid from enemies, get rid from natural disasters, get respect from others and get rid from losing desired things.
  • Offer meals : Attain long lifetime, nice body color, gain luxury life, gain powers & wisdom.
  • Offer porridge : Attain long lifetime, nice skin color, gain luxury life, gain powers, have healthy body, understand Dharma easily, wisdom & get every meals easily in anytime.
  • Offer flags : Rebirth in higher societies among heaven or human world, can learn music or dance or other art related subjects easily & become popular person.
  • Offer five pleasant sounds : Can learn music or dance or other art subjects easily & become popular among heaven or human world.
  • Cleaning areas in temples, stupas & Bodi trees : Rebirth with full healthy body & organs,  get gold color skin, get soft skin, strong body, long life time, earn popularity, get rid from skin sicknesses, gods become attracted to you, repel enemies and develop wisdom. 

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