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Buddhist Rites of Passage
Transcript of Buddhist Rites of Passage
Know and understand the important rites of passage in Buddhism.
Buddhism is different to the other 5 world religions because it does not have a God.
They instead follow the Dhamma- the teachings of the Buddha.
The Buddhist community is made up of two groups that support and nourish each other.
On one hand there is the Sangha- the community of monks and nuns who share a monastic life.
On the other hand there is the Buddhist lay people who work, marry and lead everyday lives in the usual way.
When a young Buddhist sets out for their initiation at the Sangha he will be accompanied by friends and family.
They carry the offerings for the monks and nuns in the Sangha.
The Child is dressed in princely clothes to re-enact the Buddha giving up his life as a prince to take on the life of a Holy Man.
When the child arrives at the Sangha they have their head shaved which represents giving up worldly concerns.
The child presents their saffron robes to the senior monk and bows before kneeling on the floor where he/she requests permission to become a member of the Sangha.
They vow to keep the rules of the Sangha and to concentrate on overcoming Dukkha (All life is suffering).
The senior monk gives a short sermon for those entering and then the child is dressed in saffron robes.
The child makes a promise to be obedient to the Dhamma and to follow the rules of the Sangha.
Once his vows are complete he is a member of the community.
During his time at the Sangha he receives lessons on the teachings of the Buddha and the practice of meditation,
Sometimes a young buddhist stays on at the Sangha and becomes a monk or nun and dedicates their life to the quest for Nirvana. Usually they leave to take up a place in society.
Marriage is only for the lay community in Buddhism- monks and nuns do not marry.
Buddhists consider marriage and family life to be very important it is believed that these things bring balance and stability to society.
There is no set buddhist marriage ceremony or ritual for a wedding it depends on local customs.
In the UK couples will marry in a civil ceremony at a Registry Office and then go to the Sangha for a blessing afterward.
The couple are invited to attend Puja at the shrine of Buddha, there will be a sermon from one of the monks on the responsibilities which the couple have for one another.
Both husband and wife must seek to follow the teachings of the Buddha in married life and bring their children to do the same.
At the blessing the families involved brings gifts of food and prepare a meal for guests and the monks and nuns.
According to Buddhism death is not to be feared because it is just a stepping stone one step closer on the journey towards Nirvana.
When someone dies in Buddhism the body is washed carefully and laid in a wooden coffin and adorned with flowers.
The coffin is carried in a procession to the local Sangha.
Gifts of food are taken for the monks and nuns and offerings of flowers are prepared for puja at the shrine
The coffin is set down in a prominent place and surrounded by the flowers and gifts brought by family and friends.
The monks and nuns lead the gathering in puja and there may be a sermon on the teachings of the4 Buddha.
The body is later cremated and the ashes collected and scattered into waters of a lake or river or the sea.
Design a poster to be displayed in schools on Buddhist Rites of Passage.