Essay Writing Help on Experience of Buddhism worshipping

Experience of Buddhism worshipping

Site description

            Haku-un-Ji Zen Center was established in 1994 and it constitutes to a portion of a huge network of worship centers distributed across Arizona, California, as well as New Mexico. Its presence in Arizona portrays a long-standing trend of unique attributes exhibited by most of the thirty-two Buddhist institutions listed in Arizona. Just like other Buddhist institutions in Arizona, the the Haku-un-Ji Zen Center is characterized by simplistic settings and worship practices that are inclined around individual interests, desires and experiences. This center is situated in a residential area within the compound of a private home, which lies along the 1448 Cedar Street. The center stands at the backyard of the residential home as a tiny air-conditioned room endowed with short benches and cushions to be used for worship and meditation. Everyone that enters the compound, regardless of his/her religious background is invited to attend the meditation periods taking place on a Sunday morning. The physical address for Haku-un-Ji Zen Center is 1448 East Cedar Street, Tempe, AZ Sunday mornings. The customer care office number is (480)894-6353.

            The ceremony that I attended on this day was a normal Sunday service that took place in the  morning. The purpose for this service was to incorporate various worship practices that are intended to assist Buddhist followers in the journey of enlightenment as well as bring blessings upon oneself and also upon other people. Upon entering the compound, groups of the service attendants stood outside the small meditation room where they held discussions about the religion while waiting for the commencement of the main worship service. The first observation that I made after entering the compound was that every religious attendant was dressed respectively. I realized that people were not necessarily dressed in suites and ties but they wore clothes that decently covered them. The nuns and monks here were friendly, sociable, and approachable. They guided all visitors into an orientation session that took place between 8.30am and 9.30am. During this session, the visitors were given explanations pertaining to the postures and breathing procedures employed during meditation as well as a brief introduction about some basic aspects of Buddhist philosophy. Visitors attending the orientation session were then invited for tea and coffee that would be offered at the end of service. After the orientation session was over, the sound of Kansho was heard, which symbolized the beginning of the regular service at around 10.30Am. An important observation that I made is that everyone, before entering the temple took off his/her shoes and placed them outside the door where they made a large pile. Most of these shoes were slip-on shoes, which I guess aided to ease the process of constantly removing shoes around the temple premises. I also realized that everyone wore clean socks, which I suppose was because they expected to be out of their shoes, and hence, would not want to produce bad odor during the worship session. No one stepped on the threshold separating the inside from the outside. Upon entering the temple, everyone sat down on the cautions facing Buddha’s image, which I suppose, acts as a symbol that reminded people about the various qualities of Buddha. Other religious objects that I discovered in the temple were Buddhist scriptures and images of monks as well as Buddhist masters. These images, I believe are intended to remind the religious worshipers attending the service about the qualities of Buddha as well as inspire them to pursue cultivating them within themselves.

The worship session began with a moment of silent meditation. This practice expressed a high level of mental attentiveness and mindfulness, probably to perpetuate ultimate mental enlightenment and spiritual liberation.  In this mediation, people would lift up their hands together in prayer and placed their fingertips slightly before the tip of their noses. They then would tilt their heads down in a manner that allowed the part between their eyebrows to make contact with their fingertips. This would be followed by rhythmically lifting their hands upwards towards Buddha’s image. They prostrated for three times in a manner that exhibited great honor to Buddha’s image. I also noticed that everyone sat down in a manner that prevented their feet from pointing towards the temple image or the monks. Most people thus sat with their feet tucked behind them. This, I suppose is associated with the practice of Buddhist worshippers in Asia where they literary avoid pointing at anything including monks and items in the temple. During this session of meditation, a monk that was dressed in a robe burnt incense as well as read the Buddhist scripture. The incense, I supposed must have been intended to bring the right atmosphere for worship. Gongs were used at the middle of the ceremony to inform the worshippers about significant changes occurring at the middle of the ceremony. This was then followed by chanting of the Sutras that conveyed Buddhist teachings, which was done loudly in unison in a traditional style. The chants were founded on Chinese versions of the sutras but uttered with Japanese characters. One interesting observation that I made was that the chants were not just uttered for comprehension but they were intended to aid cool the mind. I also discovered that each chant has an English conversion available on the page.

Personal reflection

            My objective to attend a Buddhist service was to observe how it is usually conducted and establish how it compared as well as contrasted with a Muslim service I had attended. I have heard and even read in books that Islamic religion exhibits significant similarities with Buddhism. Although I once attended a Muslim service, I wanted to attend the Buddhist Sunday service so I can establish whether what I saw in a Muslim service as well as what I have read and heard compares with my Buddhist religion.

            One of the unique observations that I made in Buddhist worship service was that people, before entering the temple removed their shoes and left them in a huge pile outside the entrance. This compares with what I had previously learnt about the Muslim service where brethrens leave shoes in a particular shoe rack outside the entrance. Just as what I had seen in the Muslim service, worshippers observe a moment of silent mediation, which is often accompanied by certain religious gestures. The worshippers also maintained a certain level of silence as a show of humility, which is similar to what I had learnt about the Muslim service. There was however an image of Buddha that stood at the front part of the temple, which is not the case with what I had learnt about the Muslim service. Buddhist followers, just like the Muslims, maintained a descent mode of dressing. Buddhists however did not follow any particular trend as long as their wide variety of clothes was respectable. The most uncomfortable point that I experienced was the moment of silent meditation. I was particularly nervous, not sure whether I was following the right postures and breathe procedures that I had learnt during the orientation sessions. Although visitors were allowed to just sit and watch when others were performing these gestures, I took heart and joined in forming them because I was a Buddhist follower. The most thrilling experience that I had was the shouts and merry that came during chanting. Maybe this is because the shouts and enjoyment relieved me from the state of nervousness that I had experienced during meditation.  One thing that made the greatest impression to me was the great significance attached to the image of Buddha. The image, for example, was highly guarded to ensure that it did not touch the floor, nor did anyone go close or even try to touch or point at it. Although I assumed that this was because it reflected the image of a deity being, I felt the urge to investigate the issue. I thus approached a nun that helped to clarify this issue. The nun was friendly and welcoming, and hence, it was easy to approach and ask her questions. She explained to me that the image symbolized the intriguing level of meditation and that everyone pursuing the highest level of enlightenment should follow her example. This is something I would not have understood by just reading books. I also realized the nun was most excited about the level of freedom that they gave visitors to attend their service and gain new experiences. She also liked the fact that they did not force anyone to become a Buddhist. She felt that it was important for me as a visitor to deeply learn about the various gestures and postures used during meditation. I guess this was because she noticed that I was nervous during the prayer session. I am glad that I attended this service, as I was able to find answers to the many questions that I had about this religion.