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 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
Difficult lesson of karma: even “mass murderer” turned Arhat, Angulimala, had to bear the consequences of 999 murders
Video: Why a teacher-coach is important and how to practice Guru Yoga;  the “inconvenient” subject many teachers avoid
“Mahamudra is ultimately about trying to experience absolute truth” — and Helping Your Mind Get to Know Your Mind: Teaching Retreat Notes, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
A Better Way to Catch a Snake Sutra: Buddha explains the danger of misinterpreting the Dharma
Happy Wesak Day! On this most sacred day, celebrating the birth, Enlightenment and Paranirvana of Gautama Buddha, we wish all sentient beings health, happiness, and ultimate Enlightenment.
Finding the Good in Any Situation and “Turn the other cheek”? The Sutra with Advice to Venerable Punna from the Buddha
Healing and Foundation Practices Video: Learning from the Teachers Video Series with Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Buddha’s Teachings on Anger Management: Five Ways to Put an End to Anger, or to Use it Constructively and 3 Sutras on Anger
Overcoming Fear: Three Remedies for Fear; What Buddha had to Say About Fearlessness in Abhaya Sutta
The many faces of Avalokiteshvara’s compassion: sometimes we need a father or mother, sometimes a friend, sometimes a warrior
Mokugyo: Drumming for a Wakeful Mind with the Wooden Fish Drum’s Unique Sound
Pith Instructions on Mahamudra from Mahasiddha Tilopa: The Ganges Mahamudra Upadesha
Learning from the Teachers Video 1: Four students ask Zasep Rinpoche meditation questions — resting the mind in a natural way in Mahamudra; foundation practices; being your own Guru, and meditative “realizations.”
Four Questions the Buddha Would NOT Answer and Why: Is the Cosmos Finite in Space?; Is the Universe Finite in Time?; Is the Self Different From Body?; Does the Buddha Exist After Death?
Advice from the Teachers Video 10: Struggling with Visualizing Your Heart Bond Yidam. How to Choose One, How to Improve Clarity and Concentration.
BW Interview with Geshe Thubten Sherab: Skillfully Teaching Traditional Tibetan Buddhism for Western Students
Video Buddhist Advice 9: How Can Advanced Vajrayana Students Simplify and Manage Commitments and Practice? Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Translation: The Sutra on the Eight Realizations of the Great Beings “Torches That Help Light My Path”
Movie: Walk With Me — Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village on the Big Screen: “Mindfulness is to always arrive in the here and now.”
Inspired by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Galgamani Art Project Aims Personalize the Tibetan Prayer Wheel: Interview with Micha Strauss
Prayer Wheels Growing in Popularity; Benefiting Sentient Beings and Practicing Right Livelihood: Interview with Shea Witsett of The Prayer Wheel Shop
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? *

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