The Act of Paying Respect


Every Burmese Buddhist home has household shrine. There, where the image of the Buddha was. Buddhists put the flowers, cups of water, or candles before the household shrine, and recited the Buddha teaching, and praying.




(Buddhists offered flowers at their household shrine.)

Buddhists sat down in front of the household shrine with their hands clasped palm to palm raised on the forehead to bow down 3 times to the image of the Buddha. We recite ‘I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in His Teachings, I take refuge in the Sangha, His order of the Yellow Robe’. It was the act of paying respect. It was also the act of praying for forgiveness for any evil physical deeds (large, or small), or any evil verbal deeds (large or small), or any evil mental deeds (large or small) that we have done unintentionally, or with intent to the Buddha, or to His Teaching, or to the Sanghas (monks). Buddhists often do such good deed every morning. Some often do before they sleep (at night). Buddhists often do before they go to school, or to work, to travel. We believe that such good deeds can save us from danger, or we will be happy, and healthy for the day.




(Their hands clasped palm to palm raised on the forehead,...)


In Burmese custom, Buddhists went to pagodas, and offered flowers, and candles, etc at the foot of the pagoda, and said ‘I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in His Teachings, I take refuge in the Sahgha, His order of the Yellow Robe’. After reciting and praying with our hands clasped palm to palm raised on the forehead to the Pagoda, and bow down 3 times. It was the act of paying respect, and also praying for forgiveness for any evil deeds (physical, verbal, or mental) that we have done unintentionally or with intent.




(..... and bowed down our heads to the ground, three times to the image of the Buddha.)

During the Thadingyut festival, young people brought foods, or cakes or gifts, and offered in front of their teachers or adults, with their hands clasped palm to palm, and bowed down our heads three times to their teachers, or adults. It was the act of paying respect. But bringing gifts or foods or flowers was not always necessary. It was not an essential in the act of paying respect.

Not only in the Thadingyut festival, but also in any time, or at any place, Buddhist can do the act of paying respect to our grandparents, parents, or adults. It was also the act of praying for forgiveness for any evil physical deeds (large, or small), or any evil verbal deeds (large or small), or any evil mental deeds (large or small) that we have done unintentionally, or with intent to our grandparents, parents, or adults. Then the adults, or our grandparents, or our parents say ‘thardu, thardu, thardu’ (Well done, well done, well done). It showed their gladness for our good deed, and also accepting our praying for forgiveness.

Reference: 1,Khin Myo Chit’s Colourful Burma,
2,Kaba Aye Sun Lun Sayadaw U Wara’s Sun Lun Vipassana Meditaion booklet; email; SLMC-KA@mptmail.net.mm

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