Zen Wisdom 228

From the Ch'an point of view, it would seem that prostrating to a Buddha statue is the same as prostrating to Shih-fu. It is a momentary act of giving up the self. Is this true?




Coinciding with Buddha statues or images is the concept of "opening the light, " which manifests itself in a ritual called the "Opening the Eye Ceremony". Can you provide more information on this topic?


In such a ritual, people initiate a statue for the benefit of the general religious practitioner. The procedure may vary, but usually the the initiator invokes the name or the mantra of the Buddha or bodhisattva that the statue represents. They use their own mind energy to create a channel for the energy and responses of the bodhisattva or Buddha. Of course, if the initiated statue is placed in a museum, no response will come from it. On the other hand, if the statue resides in a temple where it is used by people, it is more likely that responses will come. The eye-opening ceremony transforms the Buddha statue from an ordinary piece of art into a religious piece of art. For the people who perform the ceremony, and for the general practitioner, the ritual makes a difference. Also, the statue itself differs before and after the ceremony.

For Ch'an practitioners, however, it is not necessary to use a statue that has undergone an eye-opening procedure. They can use any statue, because it is not their purpose to get any response from the Buddha.