The Rites of Buddhism

The Rites of Buddhism: Initiation and Cults

It is no secret to anyone that Buddhism is one of the most important cultures worldwide, so much so that it has acquired a remarkable boom over time and is, today, the fifth most important religion, with a number of followers. growing. If you want to know everything related to the rites of Buddhism , these interesting practices carried out by monks and others, we suggest you continue reading this article, as it is for you.

Buddhism rites

All the mythologies and religions that take place in the world are made up of certain rites, practices and festivals that are considered sacred, since they have been carried out and maintained over the years and there is a faithful belief in their powers in the life of the people. In this sense, the rites of Buddhism are applicable in different areas, and thus the religious rites, initiation rites, for death, to receive the new year, and many other ceremonies can be highlighted.

These rites of Buddhism are characterized by being filled with a very special and mysterious air, which makes the spiritual path traveled by its practitioners marvelous. Buddhism itself centers all its beliefs on the Buddha, who is not revered as a God but is the main figure to whom all those who profess these beliefs are devoted. Thus, it should be mentioned that the rites of Buddhism, as well as the festivals, rituals and other ceremonies, are based on three fundamental aspects, which are described below:


This is an important element that is part of the rites of Buddhism, and basically consists of surrendering to the highest being, and at the same time it is made up of three aspects such as commitment, transcendence and love. Commitment in this sense refers to focus and being constant, since maintaining the commitment to spiritual transformation is a daily job, which confers solidity, freedom and assurance.

As far as transcendence is concerned, it should be noted that this is based on the attitude that is taken towards life, in which priorities must be transformed to go a little further, and thus acquire a broader vision about the concerns of everyday life. All this with the aim of transcending the social, environmental and political aspects.

The third element of devotion is love, and this aspect is very important since love links commitment to transcendence, and it is also an action that relieves suffering. In this sense, this element inspires the practice of devotion and also helps to open the heart towards the spiritual path.


Another of the fundamental aspects that have to do with the rites of Buddhism is contemplation, since when it is practiced it is possible to achieve the objective of absorption and mental concentration; In this order of ideas, this aspect of contemplation is a kind of meditation thanks to which wisdom is generated, as well as mental strength.

To experiment

For the rites of Buddhism to be carried out with total success, another of the fundamental aspects to consider is about experiencing; In this regard, it should be noted that this point simply refers to being part of the activities and rites that are carried out within the Buddhist culture, that is, being an active part of the set of rituals, rites and necessary ceremonies that are performed. in order to achieve what is desired.

It is pertinent to mention that most people who practice Buddhism, with the sole exception of the Japanese, use the lunar calendar to establish the dates on which the festivals and rites of Buddhism are going to take place, which is why These may vary from country to country. In this sense, there are many dates considered special for Buddhism, whose ceremonies and rites are extremely joyful and are days when people go to local temples to practice their devotion.

Types of Rites of Buddhism

Buddhism is a doctrine whose origin dates back to India, and dates back to the 6th and 4th centuries before Christ, which later spread throughout the eastern part of the Asian continent, currently being considered the fourth most important religion in the world.

In addition to this, around seven percent of the world’s population practices Buddhism, which is equivalent to more than five hundred million people; More than a religion, Buddhism is a philosophy whose purpose is to touch the deepest feelings of people, work on their weaknesses and defects so that they are overcome, thanks to the power of meditation and with the intention of achieving supreme wisdom. .

Now, in order for individuals who practice this philosophy or religion to be able to purify their soul, there are a series of Buddhist rites and certain rules that allow them to carry out a constant spiritual exercise, so that the person learns to recognize, accept and transform your mistakes into opportunities to be better. In this sense, the rites of Buddhism seek to promote the full recognition of the potential of the person, so that he or she can achieve wisdom.

For this reason, there is a well-known point of focus within the Buddhist culture that all practitioners want to reach, namely Nirvana, which is simply the liberation of desires, individual consciousness and reincarnation, plus point high that can be achieved by performing various rites of Buddhism. It is worth highlighting which are the main branches that make up Buddhism, these being the following:

  • Theravada: Also known as the school of the elders, it was developed in Sri Lanka and is extremely conservative, especially with regard to doctrine or dhamma, as well as monastic discipline. Theravada doctrine is primarily centered on the contents of the Nikayas of the Pali Canon.
  • Mahayana: Also known as the Great Way, it is a branch of Buddhism that accepts and includes other texts and other doctrines, which is why it is considered not so rigid or centralized.
  • Vajrayana: This branch is considered to be a variation or extension of Mahayana, and includes the use or practice of some additional techniques, also called upaya, which are generally considered esoteric practices, such as the use of mantras, dharanis, mudras, mandalas, among others.

It should also be noted that the rites of Buddhism are generally based on the different traditions of its doctrine, whose main objective is to honor the memory of Buddha and his actions on this earth. In addition to them, these rites can vary depending on the branch in which they are carried out, since each of them has a particular vision and belief regarding the way in which the rites or ceremonies should be developed.

Religious Rites

As mentioned above, Buddhism is not a religion in itself, but a philosophy or a lifestyle; however, it is a practice that includes a series of rites that help the person to purify their soul, on the arduous path to achieve full understanding of individual potential, all to achieve total wisdom.

Buddhism has a wide variety of rites that are practiced in order for individuals to achieve their goal, and among them we can highlight those mentioned below.


In general, this is an action that symbolizes reverence and adoration, mainly to worship the Buddha and is also carried out by monks and all those who practice Buddhism. They can be done in two different ways; the first one takes place during the march, where the individual stops and exclaims the On Mani Padme Hum, which is known as a universal mantra.

While exclaiming the aforementioned mantra, he places his hands together at chest height, then raises them above his head and takes a step forward.

Then lower your hands to face level, take a step forward, place your hands on your chest, and take a third step again. Next, the person separates his hands and tilts his body towards the ground, stands on his knees and then extends his whole body and brings his forehead to the ground. It should be noted that later you must get up and repeat the movements.

The other way to perform genuflections consists of extending the whole body on the ground, either on a carpet located in a monastery or in sacred places, performing the same movements indicated in the previous paragraph, but instead of marching, the same are held in one place. It should be noted that this is a form of reverence used to pay a promise or to ask for protection, as well as to remove some suffering or achieve happiness in certain aspects of life.

It is also appropriate to point out that this is one of the most suitable rites of Buddhism to cultivate the spirit, and at least ten thousand reverences must be performed where the body completely touches the ground, and with bare feet; all this in order to show respect, adoration and reverence.

Prayer wheel

This is another of the Buddhist rites that we will refer to in this article, and is also known as the prayer wheel. It consists of a cylinder made of wood and copper, which is mounted on an axis and on its outside it reads Om Mani Padme Hum, while papers containing prayers and mantras are inserted inside.

Now, for people who practice Buddhism, turning the cylinder wheel has a powerful meaning, as does reciting prayers or mantras. In addition, the more the cylinder is rotated, the greater the number of times these prayers are recited, which is why this practice allows one to accumulate wisdom and cleanse the karma of the practitioners’ lives. It is totally normal to observe that in the monasteries of Buddhism, several and in some cases thousands of prayer wheels are installed, so it is something of the utmost importance in this field.

Fire Tributes

This is a very old practice, another of the most recognized and respected rites of Buddhism, which consists of offering sacrifices with fire, that is, tributes to fire. In this regard, it should be mentioned that this rite is known under different names, such as Joma, Jomam or Jovan, and revolves around the burning of gifts and offerings in the consecrated fire. That is, it is basically burning sacrifices in the fire, reciting the corresponding prayers.

animal liberation

It is very common to notice that in some areas close to Buddhist temples, and especially in Tibetan areas, there are some sheep or yaks walking free carrying certain decorations of silk threads, from three to five colors. Similarly, they can be seen with a strip of red cloth around their necks, and these animals are released as a sacrifice to the deity of the mountains and to the Buddhas; In this sense, people do not sacrifice or harm them, but leave them to die of natural causes.


Another of the rites of Buddhism to which allusion will be made in this article is the Baptism and it is one of the most important; this rite aims to purify and cleanse the mind, and it is a ceremony that is carried out as a way to enter the practice of the esoteric secret, people are baptized and each time a new stage is entered, they will be baptized again ; in this sense, a monk who practices esoteric thinking usually has to be baptized several times.

On the other hand, the rite of baptism can vary considerably depending on who is the teacher who directs the ceremony; In this sense, the common denominator is that the teacher contemplates a mandala with a bottle in his hand, and at that moment he must imagine that four dragons vomit water into the bottle. Now, he proceeds to pour the water from the bottle on the head of his apprentice, that is, the person who is being baptized, so that he acquires the power of the baptist and consequently a purified mind.


This is a ritual through which the understanding of Buddhism is sought, where all kinds of contact with the outside world is also broken and mantras are recited according to some traditional rites. It should be noted that the confinement can last only a few days, as well as several years, and can be carried out several times in a lifetime; In addition, for no reason the practitioner can leave before the agreed time. All that is intended with this act is that the apprentice can experience a situation that allows him to cultivate himself, in order to achieve the most precious fruit of Buddhism, which is to achieve full understanding.

Thus, practitioners of Buddhism can lock themselves up several times during their lives, and so do those who practice esoteric secrecy. At the time of entering the confinement, they have no more contact with those around them, and only receive their food at the entrance of the cave where they are placed by the confinement guard, who is in charge of guarding it during the time it has been fixed.

 Mani stones

Another activity that is very frequent within the Buddhist culture is the presence of a certain amount of stones or slabs carved with sutras in sacred places and at the entrances of the streets where the practice of Tibetan Buddhism is deeply rooted and majority. . In this sense, mounds that do not have a specific order or structure are often noted, since the pieces are scattered on the banks of roads, rivers or in the vicinity of certain towns and communities.

Now, in general, the practitioners of this rite leave a stone when passing through the font and recite the sutras; and it is so much so that there are even walls formed by these stones, but in most cases they are located near the monasteries and the mountain passes. It should be noted that the tallest wall made of peanut stones is known as Jiana, and is approximately four meters high, three hundred meters long and eighty meters wide. It is located in Xinzhai Village, which belongs to the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China.

wind horse

Another of the most important Buddhist rites is the one that corresponds to the Wind Horse, also called lung ta and consists of a series of flags or prayer flags. Those who believe in the Buddhist culture consider that this symbol represents the destiny of man, as well as the five elements that make up nature.

Its peculiar name derives from the great relationship between the wind and the horse within Buddhist philosophy, since it is believed that both are natural vehicles in the sense that the animal transports tangible and material forms, on the one hand, while the wind transports those forms that are ethereal, such as prayers and prayers.

The banderillas that make up the wind horse have a rectangular shape and are made of cloth or paper, they are also organized in groups of five colors, and together represent elements of the cosmogony of Tibet. In addition to this, figures of animals representative of the five elements are printed, namely: water, wood, metal, earth and fire. They are ordered in a specific way from left to right, as follows:

  • Blue, which symbolizes and is related to the sky and space.
  • White, which represents the air along with the wind.
  • Red, which is directly related to fire.
  • Green, which is related to water.
    Yellow, symbolizing the earth.

Generally, these pennants are hung in a diagonal line from a high place to a lower point, which are tied between two objects; In addition, they are usually placed in elevated places such as on a temple, on the stupas that are a type of Buddhist construction that contains relics, and in the passes of the mountains or certain monasteries.


This rite of Buddhism called Mo, is also known as a spiritual consultation of divination with dice, and basically consists of asking a series of personal questions to the master, so that he invokes his tutelary deity, and immediately afterwards throws Tibetan dice that are very small and interprets the result that has been obtained in order to answer the questions previously asked.

To carry out this ritual, two dice and a Tibetan diagram are usually used, which is similar to a mandala with eight signs, in which the dice must fall. In this sense, the numbers become syllables depending on where they fall in the diagram, and the symbol they have.

turns to the right

Among the rites of Buddhism with the greatest devotion or faith, is this mystical ritual that is carried out with the intention of avoiding illnesses, ailments, dangers and great catastrophes, in addition to uniting merits and merits; that is, it is an act that is carried out for the purpose of protection and care. It is usually performed in monasteries, doing several actions at the same time, for example, the believer recites a series of sutras while turning the prayer wheels and turning more statues, in a clockwise direction.

Heart Sutra Puja

This is one of the rites of Buddhism that is characterized because it is very long and intense, since it can last more than an hour and is usually carried out in order to receive blessings, so it is offered to the Buddha through the strong beating of the drums. , prayers are raised and sacred music is sung. It should be noted that in Tibetan Buddhism it is called Sherñing Dondub, and in it the mantra of the heart sutra is recited, through which the power of emptiness is invoked in order to achieve deep and powerful experiences.

It is pertinent to mention that the heart sutra is also known as the essence of wisdom sutra, and is an emblematic text within the Buddhist culture, well known in the Mahayana school, composed of fourteen Sanskrit verses or slokas. In addition to this, he contemplates a mantra that is often recited in this school, whose meaning in Spanish is as follows: Leave, leave, leave to the top, leave to the highest, Awakening. So be it.

Purification with Yamantaka

This ritual is usually done in honor of the Buddha who conquers death, who has the power to put an end to everything that harms, and it is a very special rite of energy cleansing and purification, through which the person is cleaned by doing use of the four elements, such as water, air, earth and fire. It should be noted that the monk who is in charge of the ritual is called Lama, and this is the one in charge of invoking Yamantaka, to carry out the ritual using kusha grass and peacock feathers, then he cleans his mouth so that the field energy is completely clean.


What this peculiar word means is that the God has triumphed, and is usually used by the Tibetans when they pass through the mountains or the divine valleys. Cane emphasize that this is a custom derived from the heritage of those people who performed rituals of sacrifice to the deity of war and the mountain, in ancient times.

Religious dance

It is generally known since ancient times that the arts such as dance, music and theater are often used to transmit, spread and keep religious and cultural customs and traditions alive; Buddhism is no exception, since more than a religion this is a way of life, and consequently it is this other of the rites of Buddhism that we will refer to here.

In the various monasteries that exist throughout the world, different traditional religious dances are performed on important dates, which are of great representation for Buddhism.

These traditional dances are usually part of the different rites of Buddhism, and usually have many purposes, among them is telling the stories of the Buddha and other holy beings, also calling Bodhisattvas, as well as to bless the place, or the day or the current year, and cleanse or eliminate any event resulting from karma. It is also common to note that religious dances are held in the monasteries when a year is coming to an end, on which day the monks dress up in masks and costumes of the Yak deity, parading around the monasteries.

With this activity, what is sought is to scare away the bad spirits of the year that is ending, to receive the new year being clean and pure.

Khaw Pansa and Ok Pansa

One of the most common Buddhist rites in Thailand is the Kahw Pansá and Ok Pansá, the first term referring to the beginning of the retreat, and the second term referring to its end; It is a characteristic rite of those who practice Theravada Buddhism, and consists of making a spiritual retreat for a period of three months, and it is practiced by the monks in times of rain in general, that is, in the months between July and October; It should be noted that it is also known as Wassa in the Pali language, or Pansa in Sanskrit.

This is another of the rites of Buddhism that consists of a day in which the monks are kept in the monasteries in order to cultivate themselves, since they are dedicated to their spiritual growth through meditation and constant and frequent study. In addition, this is one of the oldest Buddhist rites, having its origin even in the times of Buddha, and it was a practice generally adopted by the mendicant ascetics of India, who are those who decided to live without pleasures and in total abstinence, who they generally survive on handouts. These did not usually undertake trips in those times of intense rain.


This rite is one of the most important and representative of the Buddhist culture, it is usually carried out in the Divine Mountain and at the same time tours around the lake are carried out, all with the aim of receiving energy, protection and the wisdom that these places provide. It must also be said that the devotees of the Buddhist culture consider both the sacred Lakes and the divine mountains as holy places that allow them to accumulate their merits.

Buddhism Rituals

In addition to the rites of Buddhism that were specified above, there is also a series of activities that are carried out based on some belief, either religious, or by some specific tradition; These activities are called rituals, and are usually carried out on the occasion of a special occasion or date, and at the same time allow the followers of the Buddhist culture to experience new possibilities according to their beliefs.

In this sense, the best known rituals that are carried out within the Buddhist sphere are those that are explained below.

Initiation Ritual

The initiation ritual will depend on the school of Buddhism to which it belongs, but the common denominator is that it is carried out in two phases or stages. In this order of ideas, the first phase is known as Pabbajja, and within this belief the initiation takes place at the age of eight, when the child must be taken to the monastery on the date established in his horoscope, since it is what is considered the best and most favorable for those who are going to be initiated. Once in the monastery, the child is received by the monks, and they give him three characteristic jewels of the Buddhist religion, which are the following:

  • Buddha: Or what is the same, the enlightened beings. These must be recognized as the masters of it.
  • Dharma: This is the teaching and understanding of the teachings provided by the Buddha.
  • Sangha: Refers to the Buddhist community and joining it.

Subsequently, the people who are going to be initiated must take off their clothes, and they are given a yellow tunic; then they shave off all their hair and put at their disposal the possessions that Buddhist monks must have, which are as follows:

  • Three items of clothing.
  • A belt.
  • A needle.
  • A razor used for shaving.
  • A filter.
  • A fan.
  • A bowl for alms.

In addition to this, they are made aware of the five fundamental rules of Buddhist morality, which from that very moment will be their laws of life, which at the same time they must follow with total responsibility and commitment. These rules are the following:

  • You will not take or destroy the life of those sentient beings, that is, both humans and animals.
  • You will not take things from others, that is, it is forbidden to appropriate something improperly, through theft, fraud or fraud.
  • Avoid misconduct that is capable of harming oneself or other people.
  • Do not lie, gossip, slander or be rude to others.
  • The consumption of any substance or product that causes mental alterations, such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, coffee, among others, is prohibited.

Now, the second phase of the initiation or second stage, which is known by the name of Up Camping, begins precisely at the end of the Pabbajja, and in this an older monk is assigned to the young Buddhist monk, so that he teach him the precepts that a monk must respect. In the same way, teachings are provided so that the young person acquires wisdom, compassion and security in what is entrenched in his beliefs. Later and before turning twenty years of age, if the young man is already convinced of what he wants, a ritual is celebrated in which he is officially and definitively named young.

ritual of death

For the Buddhist culture, death is not considered bad or painful, rather it is seen as one more step for the soul to be able to reach Nirvana; furthermore, for the Buddhist the ideal way to die is one where the individual is fully aware of what is about to happen. In this sense, death is considered as a step to start a new life that will bring him closer each time to nirvana, and the ritual of death within this culture, known as the funeral rite, begins with the rite by the way; this is nothing more than reading the Book of the Dead to the person who is about to die or who has already died.

With this reading, what is simply sought is to give him the keys that will serve as a guide for his passage through the Bardo or the intermediate state that is found between the two lives, which consists of a funeral that has a duration of forty-nine days. During this stage, all those relatives and close people offer food and drinks to the spirit, as offerings. It should be noted that in Buddhism, bodies are generally cremated, but there can also be cases where the burial is carried out in water or the body of the deceased is simply left in nature, so that it decomposes due to its action.

After the forty-nine days corresponding to the burial, the funeral rite must begin by preparing the body with formalin so that it can remain at home for about seven days, before being duly cremated. A photo of the deceased with some candles must be placed on the coffin, and in addition the assistants must be dressed in dark clothes or a white shirt. After these days, prayers are raised to Buddha and a shroud is placed on the face of the deceased, and then the body is placed in the coffin to be veiled.

Before carrying out the cremation, certain ceremonies are carried out, and in general the house of the deceased is open so that the closest people can meet. In some moments of these ceremonies, the monks usually sing some songs, and in other occasions when more traditional funerals are carried out, they usually choose a man who will become a man or a woman who will become a white mother, with the object of honoring the deceased person.

In this regard, it should be noted that the chosen man must shave his head and will be dressed in traditional clothing, while the woman will be dressed in white, and must avoid talking to and touching men, in order to preserve her state of purity. . She is she will have to stay behind the coffin, and in her hand she will hold a white thread, which represents the path that the spirit must follow. After carrying out the cremation of the deceased, a ceremony is held in her honor, and after forty-nine days another ceremony is held in order to finally say goodbye.

Later, when one year has passed since the death, another ceremony must be held, and it is on the third anniversary of death that the period of mourning ends with a celebration. It should be noted that there are certain cases in which it is customary to perform a funeral ceremony every year for the next seven years, and one every seven years for a period of forty-nine years. In addition, any type of activity that provides pleasure is not allowed during the course of the first year after the death of the person.

Rites for New Year

According to each country, the festivities can vary or change the date, which also happens with the rites of Buddhism; Thus, for example, the new year is celebrated on February 6 in some countries, while for Tibetans it corresponds to February 18, and in many other places that are guided by the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on January 1, and in others it is in the month of April.

It should be noted that in Thailand, the new year is the most important celebration of all, since it has a family character and each of the families performs different rites, such as attending temples in favor of making offerings and participating in certain religious ceremonies. .

Now, one of the best-known New Year’s rituals in Thailand is the water battle, which takes place in the streets and in it people are used to throwing themselves into the water and colored powders between them, all as a symbol of purification and cleansing from sins. On the other hand, in Thailand it is also customary to visit a Buddhist monastery in order to pray and give food to the monks, and in the same way they tend to clean the images of Buddha, both those in domestic shrines and in monasteries. What is done is to gently pour water mixed with a fragrance over the images, in order to attract good luck for the new year that is beginning.

On the other hand, in the regions located in the north of Thailand, it is customary for people to take handfuls of sand to the monasteries of their localities, in order to symbolize all the dirt that has been carried on their feet during the year that is ending. ; Said sand is sculpted in the stupas in the form of piles, and they are decorated with flags of various colors. Also on this date, but a well-known rite takes place, which consists of taking the Buddhas out of the monasteries and taking them in a procession among the people, so that they are sprinkled with water.

In addition to this, in Tibetan Buddhism the “losar” is celebrated during the new year, a celebration that lasts for fifteen days where the first three are the most important and significant, and the rituals specified below are carried out:

  • On the first day of Losar it is customary to prepare a drink named “Changkol”, which is a drink made from a type of Tibetan beer.
  • For the second day, which is known as “Gyalpo Losar”, whose translation is Losar Rey, this day is reserved for a secular meeting in the room of “Excellence”, of Samsara and Nirvana.
  • From the third day, believers and monks begin to enjoy their own celebrations that take place during this season.

It should also be added that during the day before the new year, people have the custom of offering cakes, bread, sweets and fruits at family altars. These altars are usually decorated in a very special way for these dates, and they remain that way for the next fifteen days, when the well-known drug is placed, which are small cookies stacked one on top of the other and a chang bottle is placed on them. which is a barley beer.

A bush of green wheat leaves is also placed, planted in a small glass called loboe, and a type of two-part funnel called bow which is placed on one side barley flour, and on the other seeds of the same. It should be noted that all these customs are carried out in order to attract prosperity to the house for the new year.


Within the rites of Buddhism to commemorate the new year, is the Nyi-Shu-Gu, which is the twenty-ninth day and consists mainly of carrying out a purification of our houses and bodies, to cleanse us of all negativity, impurity, obstacle , ills or diseases, that may exist. This is the day of the year when cleaning is mainly required, in fact, for all Tibetans, the day before the New Year is used only for cleaning, cleaning and purifying.

In general, on this day people are in charge of cleaning their homes in depth, and later they bathe and wash their hair, that is, everyone takes care of themselves and tries to be as clean as possible in order to prepare to receive the new year. After having finished the day of cleaning and personal hygiene, the custom is to have fun eating guthook and a ritual is performed through which evil spirits and ill health that are present in homes are banished.


This is a kind of very common noodle soup, which is also known as thukpa bhatuk, but is called guthook when eaten with certain elements and special ingredients during the night of Nyi-Shu-Gu. This soup usually has small shell-shaped noodles, which are made by hand and nine special ingredients are added, which are: labu (Asian radish), dry cheese, chilies, peas, among others.

It is worth mentioning that said soup becomes the famous guthuk when it is added in a special touch in each of the dishes, which is a well-known ball of dough, extra large in size, which contains a small portion of some object inside. or a paper with the name or drawing of such objects. This dumpling is quite large, and it is clearly different from the noodles, which are ingredients that the soup contains, which happens to prevent it from being eaten by mistake with all its special content.

Regarding the content found inside the dumpling, it should be mentioned that these objects are placed there with the intention of making a joke regarding the character of the person, to whom the soup has been served. Thus, some objects can be positive and others not so much, since if, for example, Lana is inside the dough ball, this means that the person is kind; but if, on the contrary, a coal is found inside it, it is usually interpreted as if the person’s heart were of that same color.

It should be noted that the objects that are placed inside the guthook dumplings are usually very varied and diverse, and vary from one region to another and even from one house to another; so much so that they can even vary from one year to another. There is a ritual performed in order to dissipate the existing negativity, which at the same time works as a means to banish bad energies, evil spirits and poor health from the home and the body of the people, which are known under the name of lue and trilue. Both are usually prepared before or during the cooking of the guthook, and are reserved.

In this sense, the fue is a small figure of a man, which is usually made in tsampa, which is a toasted flour of wheat, rice or barley, and water or tea. This image represents everything that you do not want to have at home. For its part, the trile are pieces of dough also made with tsampa, which is given to each of the diners in order to dispel the diseases they may have.

Thus, a little man and the ping pong-like balls of dough should be made for each of the guests who are going to sit at the table, and placed in addition to an old plate or bowl that has no value, since it will be discarded when the night is over.

Now, it is also customary to leave a little aside from both until all the people have finished eating their guthook, and opened their extra large dumplings. Even part of the ritual is about leaving a bit of guthook, and the remains of your dumplings as well.

When they finish eating, one of the pieces of dough or trilue is delivered to each of the people sitting at the table, and they must squeeze the dough so that their hand is printed on it. Next, the trilue is pressed on the parts of our body that are injured, weak, sick or sore, with the desire to expel any trace of ill health from it.

It is common to notice that there is a bit of laughter and joy during this stage of the ritual, just like when opening the dough balls, but what is frequent is also the desire to be completely healthy for the new year, and free from any kind of suffering; that is why people perform these practices with faith and great devotion.

Subsequently, the pieces of dough or trilue are usually placed on the plate together with the lue, and everyone proceeds to empty the remains of the soup into that same container. It should be noted that many use to light a candle as well, but it is not something very frequent in all the places where it is practiced.

In addition to this, it is also customary to light a small straw torch and go through the house, room by room, repeating the following phrase out loud: “Thomson ma”, which if translated into Spanish means something like Going out; This is done with the objective, obviously, of getting rid of both evil spirits and bad energies that can be found in the place. It is also customary, depending on the place, to say certain sentences and prayers while going through the rooms.

After having made the tour of the entire house, the plate and the torch are taken and left at the nearest intersection, without looking at the house. It should also be mentioned that this ritual is more characteristic of the Tibetan people than of the practitioner of Buddhism, however, it is very common to start the New Year festivities with this cleaning rite.

Now, once the lue is taken away from the house and the bad spirits manage to get lost outside without finding their way back, it is possible to enjoy a clean and completely healthy home, so it is the ideal time to focus all your attention on creating the conditions required to receive the new year that is about to begin.

The Losar

Within the Tibetan Buddhist culture, Losar is usually celebrated as a victory of good over evil, making it a very important day for people who practice this religion. In this sense, it is very common that the day before the new year, people place cakes, sweets, bread and fruit on the family altars, which are usually decorated for these dates in a special and different way, given the great importance of the occasion.

It is common to place the well-known dergas (cookies), chang (barley beer), a bush of wheat planted in a glass whose name is wolf, as well as a bowl in which flour and barley seeds are placed.

These elements must be kept like this for the next fifteen days, in order to attract prosperity to the home in the new year that is about to begin. It should also be noted that of these fifteen days, the first three are the most important days of all, and on these the rituals mentioned below are carried out:

First day

On the first of the fifteen days stipulated to celebrate the new year, as part of the rites of Buddhism, it is generally customary to make a drink called Changkol, which is also known as koenden, which is made from charanga, a type of Tibet beer, khapse, dri (yak female) butter, cane sugar, churra, (dry milk cheese from the dri), water and egg.

In addition to this, donuts or karsai are usually fried, and a variety of dishes such as pork, Tibetan yak and sheep are prepared, in addition to the set of offerings that are presented to the corresponding deities.

The food is usually placed in a wooden container painted in colors or Qemar; In addition to the fact that it is a celebration that is generally practiced as a family, although it is common to notice the attendance of some neighbors and friends, who usually visit at those times to share. The tradition is that the women get up early to prepare the food, and it is also customary to obtain the first Water of the Year from the river.

It should be noted that this must be taken to the house, placed on the altar with incense and some butter lamps, which must be lit in order to pray for peace to reign during the days of the coming year.

It is also typical for children to dress in new clothes, and for everyone to exchange the New Year’s greeting that is: Tashi Deki, whose meaning is Blessings and good luck.

Second day

The second day of Losar is known as Gyalpo Losar or Losar Rey, and this day is reserved for a meeting between the Dalai Lama and local leaders, at the House of Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana.

Third day

The third day of the Losar is the Losar Protector, and on this day monasteries are usually visited, offerings are made on the altars and to the protectors of the Dharma. In addition to this, the new prayer flags are hoisted, or the well-known wind horses that were alluded to earlier. It is the reality, from this day when the people and the monks begin to celebrate and enjoy the festivities of the Losar.


This is considered to be the most important day for those who practice Buddhism, as it is also known as Buddha’s day, and it is also one of the most emblematic Buddhism rites of this culture. In this regard, it should be mentioned that this celebration takes place on the full moon or full moon of the month of May, and is a ceremony made up of three transcendental moments, which are: the birthday, the illumination and the death of Siddhartha Gautama, who is the buddha, and all of these are considered to have occurred during the full moon.

In general, this holiday is celebrated by all branches of Buddhism, and it has been known worldwide since 1950, when it was decided by the conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. In addition to this, the practitioners of this festival highlight their determination and commitment to leading a noble and simple life, as well as working on the development of their minds, the practice of love, kindness, and the search for peace and harmony for all humanity in general.

Magha Puja Day

This is another of the celebrations that make up the rites of Buddhism, and this consists of commemorating the first sermon of Buddha that he gave to a group of one thousand two hundred and fifty disciples, where he announced the principles of Buddhism and what was the final objective of it. , which consists of reaching Nirvana, the maximum book of understanding of wisdom.

It should be noted that this is one of the most important festivities for the Buddhist population, and is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month, and its main objective is to do good and purify the mind, to avoid committing sins and impure acts.

This festivity is another of the rites of Buddhism that has generally taken place in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, and also in Tibet it is known by the name of Chotrul Duchen Festival. In addition to this, it is usually celebrated in other countries that are in Southeast Asia.


Another of the most important rites of Buddhism, as well as one of the best-known festivals, is called Uposatha, which are extremely special days within this culture and are celebrated during full moons. However, according to tradition, between two and six Uposathas may be presented throughout a lunar month.

It should be mentioned that this term refers to the end of the fast, or fast day. In addition, for Buddhist monks, fasting consists of eating food in the period between sunrise and noon, only, since after these hours they cannot consume anything else.

In this sense, after noon and until dawn the next day, they do not eat any type of food. During this holy day of obligation, laity and monks are allowed to increase and intensify their devotion, as well as renew their Dharma practice and many other goals.


Another of the rites of Buddhism that will be referred to in this article consists of the Kathina festival, which begins with the end of the retreat that the monks usually carry out, these monks being the best known as Khaw Pansá and Ok Pansá, approximately after the full moon appears in October, and lasts about thirty days.

This is a celebration in which the Buddhist monks are thanked, and offerings and different donations such as clothing and food are delivered to the different Buddhist temples that are part of the lay community in general.


In Thailand, this is the New Year’s holiday that is usually held, specifically between the thirteenth and fifteenth of April. It should be noted that his name means something like astrological happened, and also represents a time full of changes. In addition, it is very famous for its festivals and different traditions, among which we can mention the well-known and commemorative water battle in the streets, which consists of throwing water at each other in the streets, for a period of three consecutive days.

However, this is also a period where multiple family reunions take place and the renewal of these ties is also sought, paying honors mainly to the oldest through the celebration of cultural ceremonies and ancestral rituals. It should also be mentioned that many of these rituals have to do with the following aspects:

  • Cleaning, purification and decoration of the temples.
  • Offerings, and donations made to the monks
  • Ceremonies in which deep respect is expressed towards the Buddha statues, for which they are anointed with scented water.
  • It is also customary to pour water on the hands of the elderly, as a sign of respect and gratitude.

Royal Palace

This is also known as the festival of the floating fountain bowls, and it is usually celebrated on the full moon of the month of November, its duration also depends on the place where the festival is taking place, but it usually lasts several days. That night, people celebrate the end of the rainy season, and honor Mae Khongkha, who is the Hindu goddess of waters. It should be noted that this is based on an ancient Brahman tradition that began to be incorporated into the more traditional rites of Buddhism over the years.

However, according to many schools, it is affirmed that this festivity is carried out to show respect and worship to the sacred footprint of Buddha, which is one of the most important Buddhist symbols, on the shore of a very emblematic river within Buddhist culture. . In the same way, it is customary for the people who participate in the realization of the festival to carry elements such as incense, cups of leaves, coins, colored paper and candles, in order to place them in small baskets made with banana leaves, which in turn they are similar to small boats whose name is Krathong.

It is pertinent to limit that these should be placed in the water as offerings, in order to thank the positive, attract the good and ward off any sign of bad luck that may exist. It is a beautiful spectacle to observe thousands of Krathongs floating in the river carrying lighted candles inside, a truly wonderful experience worth seeing.

It is similar to a set of snakes of light that move slowly in the riverbeds, this is also accompanied by the light of the full moon, the dances, the music, the parades, the fireworks and the places where the which you can eat local and traditional dishes.

the elephant festival

This emblematic festival, which is also part of the most interesting set of Buddhism rites, takes place in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan state in India, during the Holi festival that is celebrated in the month of March on most occasions.

It is known that the elephant is contemplated in many mythologies, and its figure is a symbolization of royalty, in addition to being linked to different deities such as Buddha, in this case. This celebration begins with a parade of painted elephants, which are dressed in colored fabrics, jewels and embroidered velvets. These are usually followed by dancers who dance with energy, as well as chariots, camels, horses, cannons, palanquies, among others.

It should be noted that in addition to the parade, there are also games such as tug-of-war with the elephants, and the game of polo, which is extremely attractive. This festival is dedicated to elephants, and in this sense everything revolves around them; so much so that at the end of the festival, the elephant that has been best decorated is chosen among all.

You can also see the Gaj Shringar, which is an exhibition in which all those elements that have to do with elephants are exhibited, such as textiles, ornaments and howgahs, the latter being the compartments that are placed on their backs. to these beautiful animals, as well as carriages, paintings, food and medicine.

It is appropriate to mention that despite these festivities, the treatment of elephants has given rise to a large number of discussions and dilemmas that are invalid, given that the use of paints on their skin can affect them, in addition to forcing them to carry out certain activities. and exhibitions does not show much respect towards them, and even less a really fair treatment, which is why many of the organizations dedicated to the protection of animals have spoken about it.

Esala Perahera

This is one of the oldest and most important festivals in Sri Lanka, which takes place between the months of July and August, thus coinciding with the full moon during the summer season. It lasts approximately two weeks, and during these days the city of Kandy is filled with total happiness, music, joy and a lot of color. In this festival, the main protagonist is the relic of the Buddha’s tooth, it is born from the fusion of two ancient celebrations, such as:

The festival for the Victory of God Indra over Vritra (demon), as well as invoking rain during dry seasons.
The processions that are carried out in honor of the temple of the tooth of Buddha, which is the most revered in Sri Lanka and keeps a real tooth of Buddha. It should be noted that this relic is carefully guarded by the monks, and is preserved in turn in a reliquary of gold and precious stones.

In addition to this, this, as well as other Buddhist temples, are the protagonists of these festivities, which is why truly spectacular exhibitions and processions are carried out that are usually accompanied by drums, fakirs, bands, and a large number of elegant women who go beautifully dressed. It is appropriate to mention that the elephant Maligawa is leading the procession, and is carrying the reliquary containing the tooth of the Buddha.

After the sixth night of celebration is over, the parades begin to be called Randoli Perahera, as a reminder of palanquins, which were where queens were transported in ancient times. The last procession of this festivity takes place during the day, unlike all the others, since the ceremony closes with the cutting off of the water in the Mahaweli River, on the outskirts of the city of Kandy.

Those in charge of carrying out this ritual are the kapuralas, who are those responsible for the temples and are in charge of cutting the waters with a golden saber, at the same time that they pronounce a series of prayers. The water is kept in chalices, kept in each one of the temples, until the end of the festivities of the following year.


This is a festival originally from Japan, and it takes place in the middle of August depending on the lunar calendar, while if it is taken as a reference to the solar calendar, it corresponds to the middle of July.

Its duration also varies according to the place in which it is carried out, although it generally consists of three days. It is also considered that this is a festival of Buddhist origin, because according to an old story it is said that a disciple of Buddha who saw the spirit of his mother, was willing to alleviate her suffering and guide her on the path of peace, followed her teachings. and was finally able to get her to rest in peace.

The objective of this festival or rite of Buddhism is to welcome the spirits that return to reunite with their loved ones, and to make this a moment full of joy where elements such as dance, music, food and the drink. The festival consists of honoring the ancestors, of the people attending the celebration, the Bon-Odori dance is performed, and altars are placed in the streets, as well as lanterns on the doors so that the spirits that come to visit can be guided.

Over time, this festival has become part of Japanese culture, although it has its origins in Buddhism, which is why some people say that it has become a bit detached from this religion. It should also be noted that the Obon has been celebrated for more than five centuries, so it is an extremely old tradition, which is rooted in a religion, but above all in a nation, so it is part of the own and traditional customs of this place.


Every December 8, another of the most traditional and important Buddhism rites is held, which is also known as the day of enlightenment. In this regard, it should be mentioned that Bodhi commemorates the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha himself. This day this character achieved enlightenment, around the year 589 BC, and was then converted into Buddha.

Thus, the beginning of Buddhism was the point at which Gautama woke up, and also starts from the idea that all human beings are capable of reaching Nirvana and thus bring to an end all kinds of suffering.

For this reason, the Bodhi or day of enlightenment is of the utmost importance for the people who practice this culture, since it is considered that it was the day on which this religion began. in this sense, the monks carry out various activities before that day, in order to prepare for its celebration.

In many monasteries they usually hold retreats a week before celebrating the Bodhi, in which the monks can only sleep for a period of two hours. Even on the last night of the retreat they remain awake, just as the Buddha himself did, without sleeping at all.

Buddhism customs

In addition to the rites of Buddhism that have been mentioned, there are also different cults, festivals, rituals and customs, since this is a primarily traditional culture, always depending on the branch in which the ceremony is being carried out. Now, in these ceremonies there are usually notable discrepancies and varieties, by virtue of the place or the branch in which it is celebrated, so it is difficult to generalize them all; however, there are two customs that are usually practiced by all followers of Buddhism, without distinction, namely, meditation and worship, both explained below.

The meditation

This is, perhaps, within the rites of Buddhism, the most important and transcendent custom, since it is considered the practice par excellence of this religion, in the sense that it allows to cultivate the mind, improve understanding and, of course, acquire wisdom. Thus, this is the means used by practitioners of Buddhism to cultivate and better understand the nature of reality, as well as a fear to free themselves from suffering.

However, depending on the branch of Buddhism in which it is practiced, certain variations may occur, since all its elements come from Buddhist traditions. In this order of ideas, the meditation techniques used according to the type of Buddhism, are specified below:

  • Theravada Buddhism: This branch of Buddhism is focused on practice as a way to progress and polish the practitioner or apprentice; In this, an analysis of the states that the individual goes through when they are doing their meditation is usually carried out.
  • Zen Buddhism: It is clear that the objective of meditation as well as of the other rites of Buddhism is to acquire wisdom, this type of Buddhism focuses mainly on spontaneity and intuition, since it seeks to achieve natural harmony and avoids dualism, in favor of achieving an adequate zen meditation.
  • Tibetan Buddhism: This maintains its focus on the symbolic and unconscious aspect of the mind, and emphasizes ritualistic practice as a means of transforming the mind.

The adoration

Within Buddhist rites, to speak of worship is to speak of the second most representative custom of this culture, regardless of the branch of Buddhism that is being practiced. It basically consists of worshiping the Buddha, either in personal altars, in temples or in monasteries, through the use of mantras, prayers and even gifts and offerings.

Buddhism beliefs

It is appropriate to mention that the beliefs of Buddhism are based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, who was a human being who managed to transform himself and reached the point of enlightenment, giving rise to what is now known as Buddhism. In this sense, he was able to reach a high level of wisdom, and at the same time started a great spiritual revolution with his teachings and precepts. Now, all these principles are contemplated in what the Buddha named his four truths, which are the following:

  • Duhkha: This term has a fairly broad meaning, and means discontent, disappointment, restlessness, pain, regret, among others. Therefore, it can be said that the Duhkha alludes to universal suffering and pain, that is, the dissatisfaction of existence.
  • Samudya: This is the second truth of Buddhist philosophy, and it refers to the emergence of Duhkha, that is, its most immediate and palpable cause, which is usually represented by desire, ignorance and impermanence.
  • Nirodhaes: This truth is directly related to the end of eternal longing, anxiety and constant attachment. It explains itself that suffering can effectively be overcome forever.
  • Magga: It is the fourth noble Buddhist truth, which symbolizes the path and the path that leads to Nirvana. Thus, it is known as the middle path, for the sake of the individual avoiding the extremes that cause suffering.

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