Buddahist thoughts on dating
The fact remains, however, that the practices and observances to be described here justly claim an integral place within the stream of living Buddhism as practiced by its adherents.
Samyutta Nikaya The theme of this study, Buddhist ceremonies and rituals, may not appeal to the self-styled Buddhist purist who wishes to restrict the designation "Buddhism" exclusively to the teachings of the Buddhist scriptures, which he usually interprets in a narrowly intellectualist manner.
This was how the "great tradition" of canonical Buddhism came to be complemented by the "small tradition" of popular Buddhism consisting of the rituals and ceremonies discussed in this booklet.
To satisfy their devotional and emotional needs, they required a system of outward acts, communally shared, by which they could express their devotion to the ideals represented by the Dhamma and absorb these ideals into the texture of their daily experience.
The Buddha often stressed the importance of saddha, faith or confidence in him as the Perfect Teacher and in his Teaching as the vehicle to liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Unshakeable confidence (aveccappasada) in the Triple Gem — the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha — is a mark of the noble disciple, while the Buddha once stated that those who have sufficient confidence in him, sufficient affection for him (saddhamatta, pemamatta) are bound for heaven.
The Buddha did discourage the wrong kind of emotional attachment to himself, as evidenced by the case of Vakkali Thera, who was reprimanded for his obsession with the beauty of the Buddha's physical presence: his was a case of misplaced devotion (S.iii,119).
Thus ceremonies and rituals, as external acts which complement inward contemplative exercises, cannot be called alien to or incompatible with canonical Buddhism.It is when they are wrongly practiced that they become impediments rather than aids to the spiritual life.It is to warn against this that the Buddha has categorized them, under the term silabbata-paramasa, as one of the ten fetters (samyojana) and one of the four types of clinging (upadana).A composite unity consisting of a number of subordinate ritualistic acts may be called a ceremony.Such observances have become inseparable from all organized religions.