Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 3. When is the appropriate time to make prostrations to the Buddha? How many prostrations should one perform?Generally speaking, there are no special restrictions on the appropriate time and the number of prostrations. Practitioners can set up a daily routine for their prostration practice, either through a regular time or consistent quantity, based on their time and stamina. For example, one can prostrate to the Buddha for 30 minutes every day, or by making 300 or 500 prostrations per day.
The most common numbers for prostrating to the Buddha are 32 and 48, which usually represent the great vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. For example, making 32 prostrations symbolizes paying homage to the 32 Nirmanakayas of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, whereas performing 48 prostrations symbolizes paying respect to the 48 great vows of Amitabha Buddha. There are also 21, 49, and 108 prostrations which are developed on the basis of seven. For Buddhists, whether it is prostrating to the Buddha, reciting the Buddha's name, or reciting sutras, one should set a goal and try to achieve it in order to achieve better focus for one's practice. However, these numbers are only personal goals, without one being superior or inferior to the other. The point is to practice with perseverance and extend the sense of stability gained from practice into one's daily life.
It is important to note that, when making prostrations, one should not be hasty and speed up the prostration count. Of course, setting a regular schedule can definitely help one to be diligent and not slack off. On the other hand, if you engage in practice in a hurried way, you may become more and more careless. Not only does this cause your mind and body to be unstable, but you also eventually lose the meaning of prostrating to the Buddha.
In addition to prostrating to the Buddha at regular time or quantity, when you feel unstable or drowsy, you can temporarily put aside your work and prostrate to the Buddha. When prostrating to the Buddha, you should be aware of every bodily movement while adjusting your breathing and speed. Gradually, your body will go from feeling stiff and tense to being soft and relaxed, and your mind will also become more focused as a result. In particular, the slower your prostration speed is, the easier it is for your body and mind to settle down.
Prostration: Paying Homage to the Buddha
Common Buddhist Etiquette
Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 1. Buddhism does not advocate for idolatry, so why would people still make Buddha statues and even prostrate to them?
Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 2. If we do not have a Buddhist altar or a Buddha statue at home, then towards which direction should we prostrate?
Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 3. When is the appropriate time to make prostrations to the Buddha? How many prostrations should one perform?
Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 4. Are the objects to which Buddhists prostrate only limited to Buddha statues?
Common Qs and As on the Practice of Prostrating to the Buddha - 5. Can prostrating to the Buddha eliminate karmic obstacles?
Prostrating to the Buddha to Train the Body and Cultivate the Mind
Prostrating to the Buddha and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Practice Method of Prostrating to the Buddha
Resource: Issue 347 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Issue 347 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Editing: Bright Su, Keith Brown