THE
ARCANE
ARCHIVE

a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


TOP | YRONWODE | ARCANE ARCHIVE.ORG | RELIGION | BUDDHISM

Water and Buddhism?

To: talk.religion.buddhism
From: William_Gilders@brown.edu (Bill)
Subject: Re: Water and Buddhism?
Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 10:56:30 -0400

In article <3370217E.3841@bconnex.net>, sandyc  wrote:

> I have a simple query I'm hoping someone out there can satisfy.  And
> that query is this: What is the Buddhist relation to water?  I ask this
> in the same sense that Christians baptize; and, similarly, that ancient
> Romans had to cross a body of water before they could enter the
> underworld.  Are there potent symbols of water in Buddhism?  These are
> not well phrased questions but I am not yet sure of exactly what I seek.
> 
> Sandy Campbell.

"Stream entry" is a phrase used in Buddhism to decsribe that point in
spiritual progress when a person is definitley on the way to liberation. 
Attainment of liberation is pictured as the crossing of a stream, using
the teachings of the Buddha as a raft.  The Buddha is know as the
Tathagata ("Thus Gone").  This is partially connected with this image of
crossing over.

I have also seen samsara (the cycle of birth and death in which we are all
trapped) described as a sea, where the image here of something in which we
are drowning.

I imagine there is more.  As for initiation rituals with water, there are
none that are basic to Buddhism as a whole.  However, some Theravada
(southern Buddhist) schools use water in rituals.  Pots of water are
connected with a thread, which is tied to a Buddha image.  The group
celebrating the ritual sits within the circle of string and monks offer
chants and blessings.  The water is supposed to "conduct" the positive
energy.  I imagine you could find more information in an anthropologically
oriented book on Asian Buddhism.  I have also seen Cambodian Buddhists
chant while pouring water from one vessel into another.  They then took
the water and poured it out on the ground.  I was told that the water was
for "the angels".  My guess is that the explanation was designed for a
westerner.  I imagine it has something to do with providing drink for
spirits that protect the Dharma, but this is just a guess.  Finally, when
I visited a Thai temple I was blessed by the abbot, who sprinkled me with
water.  He also offered to sprinkle my car (I didn't have one).  I imagine
this had something to do with transferring spiritual power as a means of
protection.  I suspect much of this ritual activity (not well-know by
western Buddhists and often looked down upon by those who do hear about
it) is rooted in ancient pre-Buddhist ideas about the power of water to
absorb and communicate unseen energies.  This is just a guess.

Finally, water is usually offered to Buddha images as part of a puja
(devotional ceremony).  Both water for drinking and water for washing is
offered, along with flowers, incense, perfume, and food.  The water is the
same as what would eb offered to the Buddha if he were to be present in
the flesh.  The image receives by proxy the devotion we would show to the
Buddha in real life.

I hope this information gives you some help.

Be well,
Bill

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist: tyaginator@arcane-archive.org.

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.

SEARCH THE ARCANE ARCHIVE

There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase

OTHER ESOTERIC AND OCCULT SITES OF INTEREST

Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races