Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Objects

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Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Objects

Chanting:This is a musical style to the Buddhist and everyone recites it over and over again. In their schools, they are learned the different chants. In most cultures, the chant is performed before the meditation ceremony. It is a preparation and it is very important in their ritual.

Thangka:A thangka is a devotional image representing the most sacred aspects of the Tibetan Buddhist religion. It is traditionally used as an aid and focus for meditation and devotional practices. Thangkas are also commissioned and hung to increase good fortune and ward off negative energies. In Buddhist practice it is customary to make valuable offerings in order to increase merit and to receive blessings from the Buddhas.

Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Objects

Cymbals:The cymbals are rung together and it is heard at a high pitched tone. As it was heard, it would ring for long periods of time and would bring you to a more calm state. It is one form of healing for them. This was one of their many important rituals.

Prayer Wheels:Prayer wheels, also called Mani, are used to spread spiritual blessings and well-being. The prayer wheels are wrapped in rolls of cloth that have many copies of the mantra written on them. Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra either out loud or to oneself raises the attention and blessing of Chenrezig. The idea for the prayer wheel was said to originate from the phrase “turn the wheel of the dharma” which is a metaphor for the Buddha’s teaching activity.

Mandala:The mandala is a beautiful drawing made from sand. It takes days and even weeks to complete a mandala, only to have it destroyed. The mandala has many fine details and while it is being made, there are prayers that are said. The mandalas symbolize the blessing of the earth and everything in it.

Buddhist Statues:The making of Buddha statues used to be forbidden because the Buddha did not want people to idolize him or see him as a god. Now, the statues are thought to actually be the Buddha or to have an inherent power. Although this is the common thought, Buddhists do not worship Buddhist statues any more than Christians worship the cross. The Buddha statues are simply seen as a symbol that can be helpful in creating devotion, uplifting the mind, and focusing attention.

Singing Bowls:Singing bowls help calm people down and let them think. They are to relax the muscles and help with meditating. For a slow song, meditating, calming, relaxing, and helps people think. Singing bowls come in different sizes, which create many different sounds.

Bells: When the bells are rung it is a way for you to try and reach karma. It is giving a sacrifice to the Buddhist Gods and is a form of peace. When the bells ring, and confusion is gone and all wisdom comes within you. This is also giving to the three treasures of Buddhism.

Bhumpas:The Bhumpa, or Ritual Vase, is an important ceremonial offering item used for water purification for initiation ceremonies. The purified holy water is believed to remove negativity and to chase away evil spirits, and it is sprinkled or poured to purify persons, places or objects. Bhumpas are widely used by Buddhist Lamas and Gurus in many types of Buddhist ceremonies, from elaborate purification rituals for new houses, monuments and holy sites, to simple blessings for disciples meant to purify and protect them from harmful forces. Bhumpas may also be used by practitioners to make water offerings; in such cases the water is regarded as pure nectar. During the performance of some Tantric rituals two matching Bhumpas are used. These are called the "chief" or "principal" vase, and the "action" or "working" vase. The principal vase is filled with holy water and remains upon the altar in the monastery or temple, while the action vase is used for the actual pouring of water for purification during the various stages of the ritual.

Malas:Malas are prayer beads used in religious practices. The malas are linked with prayer. They are used in many religions, and they go by different names. In the Catholic religion, they are called rosaries, and in the Islam religion they are called subhas. In Buddhism, the malas have 108 beads to represent the lies that someone must surpass in order to reach Nirvana. Buddhists wear 108 beaded malas to counteract their 108 impurities.

Incense:When the Buddhist would light incense, it was a form of meditation. It would go off as a light scent and it represents a well conduct. It is very cultural and it is seen to spread throughout the world and to bring peace and happiness. This is in hope to burn away all the bad and evil thoughts within you and it spreads in all directions. This is giving to the three treasures of Buddhism.

Sidenote: "Three Treasures of Buddhism":The ideals at the heart of Buddhism are collectively known as the ‘Three Jewels’, or the ‘Three Treasures’. These are the Buddha (the yellow jewel), the Dharma (the blue jewel), and the Sangha (the red jewel). It is by making these the central principles of your life that you become a Buddhist.

Butter Lamps:In the vajrayana Buddhist tradition, we accumulate merit in order to create positive short - term circumstances such as health, wealth, longevity and more deeply, to reveal our wisdom to nature. Of all the methods for accumulating merit through generosity, offering Butter Lamps is one of the best, second only to the practice of feast offering. In the Buddhist Tradition, Butter Lamps symbolize the clarity of wisdom. Offering Butter Lamps creates harmony, and generates merit while promoting success, prosperity, longevity, and world peace, as well as helping to avert obstacles, pacify the upheaval of the five elements, and heal disease. When offered on behalf of the deceased, prayers are usually recited for their liberation in the Bardo ((a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person's conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death)) and rebirth in a Pureland. The offering of light is a means of dispelling the darkness of our own ignorance, giving rise to clarity and wisdom.

Vajra:These objects usually are made of bronze, vary in size and have three, five or nine spokes that usually close at each end in lotus shape. The number of spokes and the way they come together, or not, at the ends have numerous symbolic meanings. In Tibetan ritual, the vajra often is used together with a bell. The vajra is held in the left hand and represents the male principle, upaya, action or means. The bell is held in the right hand and represents the female principle, prajna, wisdom. It is also called a droje.

These are altar plates.It is customary to offer seven bowls of water which represent the seven limbs of prayer -- prostrating, offering, confession, rejoicing in the good qualities of oneself and others, requesting the Buddhas to remain in this world, beseeching them to teach others, and dedicating the merits.

Stupas:Built for a variety of reasons, Buddhist stupas are classified based on form and function into five types. Relic stupa, in which the relics or remains of the Buddha, his disciples and lay saints are interred. Object stupa, in which the items interred are objects belonged to the Buddha or his disciples such as a begging bowl or robe, or important Buddhist scriptures. Commemorative stupa, built to commemorate events in the lives of Buddha or his disciples. Symbolic stupa, to symbolise aspects of Buddhist theology, for example, Borobuddur is considered to be the symbol of "the Three Worlds (dhatu) and the spiritual stages (bhumi) in a Mahayana bodhisattva's character." Votive stupa, constructed to commemorate visits or to gain spiritual benefits, usually at the site of prominent stupas which are regularly visited.


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