5 Ritual and Devotion

Exploring the psychology and meaning of Buddhist ritual through the ‘Sevenfold Puja’
A six-week course exploring Buddhist ritual. Provided by Vajrapriya, Cambridge Buddhist Centre, UK. Module 5 of Vajrapriya’s Buddhism Two Course in six modules.

Download this overview here.

Week 1: Ritual: what, why, and how
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Importance of an explorative attitude
    Rituals we know
    Ritual – what and why?
    FWBO dedication ceremony
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    FWBO dedication ceremony
    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 2: Who or what do Buddhists Worship?
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of last session
    “Heroes”
    Worship and egalitarianism
    Relating to ‘archetypal figures’
    Personal exploration by the course leader
    Symbolisms of offerings and shrine room etiquette
    Threefold Puja
    Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

    Handout on main topics as given in a
    FWBO Threefold Puja

Week 3: Introducing the Sevenfold Puja
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of last session and home practice
    Introduction to 7fold Puja
    Discussion of sections 1 to 3 in small groups
    Going for Refuge
    How do we develop sraddha / confidence?
    Short introduction of Mantra
    Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

    The Sevenfold Puja
    Refuges & Faith worksheet
    Translations of Pali refuges & precepts
    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 4: Confession and Rejoicing
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Why confess?
    Reflecting on faults
    Why rejoice in merits?
    What holds us back from rejoicing / appreciating others
    Exercise for group or pairs
    Puja
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Diary of regrets/apologies and rejoicings/appreciation
    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 5: Receptivity to the Truth
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Led meditation around nama-rupa
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Entreaty & Supplication
    What’s your question?
    What closes us off to receptivity?
    Introducing the Heart Sutra
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Handout on main topics as given in a


Week 6: Bodhicitta – the awakening heart

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Transference of merits and self-surrender
    Being of service
    The bodhicitta
    Puja
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Bodhicitta-meditation by Kamalashila
    Handout on main topics as given in a

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