Buddhist Misunderstandings (4)
Paying respect to the Buddha also arises some misunderstanding among the public.
- The Observance to The Buddha
It is believed that the Buddha is standing outside of the cycle of death and life, giving guidelines for all living beings to achieve enlightenment. Buddhists and non-Buddhists all over the world show their respect to the Buddha through prayer, giving offerings to monasteries and chanting in front of a shrine along with the image of the Buddha. This observance is considered as an act of superstitious idol worshiping by those who don’t understand the status of the Buddha.
The Buddha is the religious master who has achieved a perfect and ultimate state of nirvana by practicing from being a worldly being. Buddhist practitioners show respect to the Buddha is an act of giving thanks due to his assistance, just as the fact that we pay reverence to our parents.
Then, why do people pay respect to the Buddha by creating his image? It is because the Buddha has already attain the ultimate nirvana which is far from common people’s sphere. People carve the image of the Buddha to practice the merits and heritage of his teachings.
The image of the Buddha stands for the spirit of the Buddha. People use some visible and practical things to pay respect to someone or something they believe in. It is true to the case that a person pay respect to his country’s flag if he is patriotic.