Buddha teaches us to view every meal as if we were reluctant cannibals: Samyukta Agama Sutra 373, the Four Nutriments
Letting Go — letting go of past, letting go of future, letting go is the hardest thing to do: Na Tumhaka Sutta
Becoming Gesar, the fearless Buddhist: How to overcome fear in uncertain times, according to Pali Sutta, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra
The Hand of Buddha defeats the three poisons : Vajrapani (literally, “Vajra Hand”) — Guardian of Shakyamuni Himself; Vajrapani, the power of the mind to overcome obstacles such as pride, anger, hate and jealousy
Tonglen video: Why giving and taking practice is an important kindness meditation and Bodhichitta practice; how to do it: taught by Zasep Rinpoche
Understanding Dependent Co-Arising is critical to Buddhist practice: The Great Causes Discourse Maha-nidana Sutta
Pali Sutta for Our Age: Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Book Review of a Classic
The bridge between science and Buddhism, atoms and no atoms, theism and athiesm; Yidam deity meditation and the Cognitive Science of Tantra
“Every one has Buddha Nature.” A teaching video: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche with mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Cankama Sutta: Walking Meditation Sutra: put some mileage on your Buddhist practice with formal mindful walking
Milam Sleep Yoga: lucid dreaming can bring us closer to experiencing non-dualistic “reality” than waking meditation
2017 Tsog Dates: Happy Dakini Day — Introducing the Wisdom of the Female Enlightened Dakinis
Guan Yin and the ten great protections of the Goddess of Mercy: Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
The Maha Samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting Sutra: refuge from fear in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Soma Sutta: Sister Soma gets the better of Mara — what difference does being a woman make in Buddhism? None
Healing video: full Medicine Buddha guided meditation with Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche; with Medicine Buddha Mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Phurba or Kila: the most potent of wrathful ritual implements in Vajrayana Buddhism, symbolizes the Karma activity of the Buddhas
Happy Birthday Venerable Zasep Rinpoche: May the pure white light of your peerless wisdom shine undiminished until the end of existence
Buddha: How to protect wealth, associate with virtuous friends and relate to your spouse, employer, children: guidance for lay practitioners in Sigalovada Sutta
“Mind is the creator of our own happiness or suffering”—Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche teaches Lojong  Seven-Point Mind Training
The Path of Purification? No, my friend. Ratha-vinita Sutta (Chariot Relay Sutra) teaches us not to confuse the seven purifications, with the destination, Nirvana
Atisha’s Great Praise: 11th century wisdom.
Why Buddha Nature is one of the most important understandings in Mahayana Buddhism and why Tathagatagarbha Buddha Nature is not the soul
Why do Buddhas and Enlightened Beings need offerings? The simple answer: they don’t. The better answer is…
Book Review: Tara in the Palm of Your Hand: a guide to the practice of the twenty-one Taras in the Surya Gupta lineage
Amitabha Sutra: cutting delusions with one-pointed blissful contemplation of Amitabha Buddha and the Pure Land
Reviving the genuine Dharma ritual art traditions: an interview with Vajra artisan and craftsman Rigdzin Pema Tuthob
Great Compassion Mantra: Purification, healing and protection, the Maha Karuna Dharani Sutra — benefiting all beings
Video: Why is Mantra important to daily practice? For protection: “We are human beings. We have many problems.”
A Sutra for Troubled Times: Usnisa Vijaya Dharani Sutra and Mantra— Purify Karma, Eliminate Illness and Prevent calamities
Naked wisdom for degenerate times: Vajrayogini, enlightened wisdom queen, leads us to bliss, clear light and emptiness, despite modern obstacles
Headed for darkness or light? Of world’s 7.5 billion people, Tamonata Sutta says there are four types of people, two headed to darkness
Interview Lama Dr. Shannon Young: Dzogchen teacher focuses on bringing Dharma practice into daily life and bridging heritage with modern life
H.H. 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje in Canada for one month, arrived in Toronto for teachings
What’s so special about Hayagriva? This wrathful Heruka emanation of Amitabha, with horse head erupting from fiery hair, literally neighs with the Hrih scream of Wisdom
Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Awareness; mindfulness of body, feelings, mind, mental qualities
Anjali Mudra is a Universal Buddhist Greeting —— Not “Namaste” (A Counterpoint from a Contributor/Reader)

Anjali Mudra is a Universal Buddhist Greeting —— Not “Namaste” (A Counterpoint from a Contributor/Reader)

Guest Post Pam Margera

Editor: Pam Margera, responding to one of our popular older stories, Namaste: Respect Overcomes Pride, a Universal Greeting, and a Sign of Reverence, by another guest contributor, writes his perspective on the use of “Namaste” as a greeting. In particular, he refers to the language aspect, rather than the gesture of reverence or greeting. We were originally going to post this as a comment, but felt it should be highlighted as a stand-alone feature. Buddha Weekly features are contributed by like-minded Buddhists who contribute their stories, views, news and practices in, hopefully, informative and engaging stories. The guest post is unedited for accuracy. It is important to note this discussion relates to custom and culture — there are no rules in a friendly greeting. A link from the original story references this post.

I read your article on ‘Namaste’. I personally felt there were some inaccuracies and assumptions in the article. I thought it would clarify any inaccuracies in the article. Please do not take this as harsh criticism. I am just trying to explain things in a friendly and acceptable way. It’s just that I felt that the article could make people misunderstand about greeting in the Buddhist world. Here it goes –

GREETING IN THE BUDDHIST WORLD

Welcome _/\_

When two Buddhists meet each other it is custom to do the Anjali Mudra (press palms together in front of the chest) and say the greeting term either in one’s own language or in a language that the other person understands.

The Anjali Mudra, a universal and respectful gesture of greeting.
The Anjali Mudra, a universal and respectful gesture of greeting.

Just to give an example, I am from Sri Lanka and I speak Sinhala as my first language. When I meet a Buddhist the ideal way that I should greet the person is by doing the Anjali Mudra and say the greeting in my language. But if I was to meet an English speaking Buddhist I would do the Anjali Mudra and then say ‘Welcome’. If I was to meet a person who speaks Hindi then I will do the Anjali Mudra and say ‘Namaste’.

Notice the greeting terms are specific for the respective languages and they are not equivalent in terms of their meaning.

In Hindi ‘Namaste’ means ‘I salute you’ (not the exaggerated “the divine in me bows to the divine in you”).

For example in Sinhala we say ‘Ayubowan’ which means long life. In Hindi ‘Namaste’ means ‘I salute you’ (not the exaggerated “the divine in me bows to the divine in you”). And the term ‘welcome’ is different from those two. It’s not necessary to get bogged down in the etymology of the terms as the words are just to greet the other person.

Too often we see the word ‘Namaste’ being used at the end a post or comment. There are few errors in the context. First of all the term ‘Namaste’ is used in the beginning as an opening term (not closing). Namaste is not a universal greeting term for all Buddhists and its a term used by those who speak Hindi.

Namaste is often used in conjunction with the Anjali Mudra as a greeting, often between Buddhists, however it is equally correct to use Anjali Mudra with "Welcome" or the language of the person greeting or being greeted.
Namaste is often used in conjunction with the Anjali Mudra as a greeting, often between Buddhists, however it is equally correct to use Anjali Mudra with “Welcome” or the language of the person greeting or being greeted.

What is Universal Between Buddhists is the Anjali Mudra

The term Namaste is not exclusive to Hindus as non-Hindus who speak the Hindi language use the term also such as Indian Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.

What is universal and common in terms of greeting between Buddhists is the Anjali Mudra. Some people from Western backgrounds assume the term ‘Namaste’ is like the Buddhist equivalent of ‘As alamu alaikum’ in Islam but this is an erroneous assumption.

So hereafter when the term Namaste is used its always best to correct people then and there. As saying welcome with this (_/\_) is appropriate in an English speaking audience.

Remember unlike Abrahamic faiths which have doctrines based on dogma, Buddhism does not have hard and fast rules as to how people should greet each other. But the post just explains what is the usual custom in the Buddhist world.

With Metta _/\_

Pam

Original Story on Buddha Weekly:

Namaste: Respect Overcomes Pride, a Universal Greeting, and a Sign of Reverence

Leave a reply

Are you a Sentient Being? *

Awarded Top 50 Buddhist Blog

Copyright Buddha Weekly 2007-2017. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to excerpt stories with full credit and a link to Budddha Weekly. Please do not use more than an excerpt. Subject to terms of use and privacy statement. All information on this site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote  understanding and knowledge. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, including medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Buddha Weekly does not recommend or endorse any information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.

Send this to a friend