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Venerating the Buddha

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The Buddhist tradition has developed many different customs and practices in different parts of the world. This may take the form of meditating on the qualities of Buddha, and honouring the Buddha or Buddha-figure. A person could honour the Buddha by making offerings to relics or images of the Buddha. The exchange of gifts In the Theravada tradition, Buddhist laypersons often give gifts to Buddhist monks but giving is also encouraged more generally, to one another and to good causes. In Theravada Buddhism, monks are considered to embody the fruits of Buddhist practice. Monks' responsibility is to share these with lay Buddhists through their example and teaching. Giving to monks is also thought to benefit lay people and to win them merit. Pilgrimage Four main centres of pilgrimage sprung up within the first couple of hundred years after Buddha's death which marked key locations in the Buddha's life. Since then other centres have emerged in virtually every area where Buddhism has been established, each with its own practices and customs. The purpose of pilgrimage is to foster a spiritual discipline, to fulfil a vow or simply to travel. It is an important Buddhist practice. Pilgrimage also helps to express feelings of devotion and creates a relationship with the historical figures associated with the pilgrimage site. Ordination Admission to the monastic sangha involves two rites of passage: * Renunciation of the secular life * Acceptance of monasticism as a novice Since in many cases, acceptance as a monk could not be made before the age of 20, the two rites could be separated by many years. Ordination is an important ceremony in all traditions. In the Theravada, for example, ordination means becoming a monk. To become a Theravadin monk a postulant shaves his head and beard and adopts the yellow robes of the monk. Various vows are exchanged, including the repetition of the Ten Precepts. Then the postulant is questioned about past behaviour and their suitability for the position. If satisfied, the officiating abbot admits the postulant.

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1 Ahmed M = "Veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint, a person who has been identified as having a high degree of sanctity or holiness."
2 Ahmed M = "Angels are shown similar veneration in many religions. "
3 Ahmed M = "Within Christianity, veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches."