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Prostration practice requires regular procedures

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Writer admin Date29 Sep 2006 Read9,410 Comment0

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Currently, prostration has been widely performed but without any fixed rules and regulations. It is a kind of major cultivation method in Buddhism; however, the question is, what attitude should we have and what procedure should we follow when doing a prostration cultivation?
A book dealing with the problems arising from doing prostration practice, "An introduction to prostration practice" was published by Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism on Aug 28th as a guide to prostration cultivation at the Order level. The contents of the guide book are modelled after the prostration cultivation method officially adopted in educating the Sangha Community of Jogye Order. It is actually the second book of the Jogye Order’s ’An introduction to Buddhist Cultivation’ series, following the first of it, "An introduction to Ganhwaseon". The following is a brief summary of this book about prostration.

▲ prerequisites of prostration cultivation
In order for the prostration to be established as a definite cultivation method, the practitioners of it should accept the Buddhist theories of Middle Path and Dependent Origination in advance. It’s because we are likely to fall into a mere physical exercise without having correct insights into the Buddha’s teachings.
Besides, as is the case with Ganhwaseon or other practices, how to perform prostration should also be taught, but not be taught by oneself. If, by any chance, one think that in doing a prostration practice the more, the better, it is completely misleading.

▲ What is the relation between Ganhwaseon and prostration practice?
There are two kinds of views on this matter. The one is to consider the prostration itself as an independent practice, and the other as a supplementary means of Ganhwaseon practice. Those who present the latter view also recognize it is easily accessible to the public and it can also make pratitioners strengthen their forbearance and Samadhi removing their karmas through contrition. But prostration itself does not guarantee the awakening of Buddha’s nature and wisdom. Therefore, it is desirable to do prostration practice at first, and then to investigate Hwadu along with it.

▲ procedures of prostration
It is advisable to fix a certain procedure in doing prostration like other cultivations. After doing the prostration, it is also necessary to do a sitting meditation in order to compose oneself and contemplate one’s mind at least over 15 minutes. When doing with other people in a temple, one is advised to keep the following process; the Three Refuges, Sutra reading, Contrition and Praying, Prostration, Sitting Meditation, Transference of Merit and Vowing, Four Great Vows. In case of doing prostration at home; Cleaning, Incensing and Resolving, Three Refuges, Contrition and Praying, Prostration, Sitting Meditation, Transference of Merit and Vowing, Four Great Vows.
In case of Jeopjogrye, a prevailing type of prostration, put elbows in front of both knees and palms to the floor at the same time, and then lower the upper body so that your forehead may touch the floor. Simultaneously, get the big toe of your left foot folded on that of your right foot. Leave a space between both hands so that your head can be put, and make your fingertips narrower, with the space of fingers not widening.

▲ various kinds of prostration practices
The prostration practice can be performed along with Hwadu investigation and Chanting, Mantra, Sutra Coping, Vipassana. If you perform the prostration practice with them, you can avoid the monotony of it and elicit synergic effects.

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