5. Worship

28 Tháng Hai 200512:00 SA(Xem: 7078)
5. Worship

To be in line with these reforms, worshipping in Hoa Hao Buddhist homes should be very simple. 

No Buddha statues, bells or gongs may be displayed on the altar. Only a piece of brown cloth symbolizing human harmony and the color of Buddhism should be used. This is Buddha’s Altar.

Under the Buddha’s Altar is the Ancestral altar reserved for the cult of Ancestors.

In front of the house, an altar to Heaven is set up to enable communication with the Universe (sky and earth), the four heavenly Directions and the ten Buddhistic Directions (*).

No food of any kind including fruits may be used to worship Buddha. Only fresh water, flowers and incense sticks are needed. Fresh water represents cleanliness, and flowers purity. Incense sticks are to freshen the air.

Hoa Hao Buddhist followers must worship Buddha at least twice a day, morning and evening. On the 1st and 15th each lunar month and on Buddha’s Holy days, they have to go to pagodas or Hoa Hao Meeting Halls or Preaching Halls to pray and listen to sermons.

Prayers are to be in a low voice while no bells or gongs may be used. When the time of worship comes, if we are away from home, let us turn Westward (**) to pray to Buddha. We should also encourage others to pray silently in their hearts wherever they may be.

At each hamlet, there is at least a Preaching Hall equipped with loud speakers. Every day, at specific hours, a Preacher would go there to say prayers or to give sermons to the audience.

Hoa Hao Buddhist Preaching Halls are small structures used for the unique purpose of preaching. As they do not have residential quarters, they are much smaller than regular pagodas or temples, because as said before, Hoa Hao Buddhism puts more emphasis on the practice of Buddhism at home.

Hoa Hao Preaching Halls with their special architectural design are found today at many places throughout South Vietnam. The 1965 Census gave the number of Hoa Hao Preaching Halls as 390 throughout South Vietnam.

*****

(*) Ten Buddhistic Directions: North, South, East, West, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, Above & Below).
(**) Westward because the original land of Buddhism is in India, West of South Vietnam).

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