Buddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 140. Etiquette for paying respect in temples

Q: Dear Master Lu, as Buddhists, we often visit temples and monasteries. What should we be aware of in terms of our appearance and behaviour?

A:

  • As Buddhists, when visiting temples and monasteries, we should not dress casually. We should be clean, tidy and respectful. Your hair should not cover your forehead, otherwise your fortune is likely to be affected. Avoid wearing dresses/skirts or flip-flops; your attire should cover your shoulders and knees.
  • You should speak and behave in a respectful manner. Avoid displaying frivolous facial expressions and gestures. Refrain from inappropriate gestures in temples, including any physical contact between males and females. You should also keep your voice down.
  • Avoid having a strong body odour while you are in the temple. If you are not able to control it, then it is best to go outside or go to a corner.
  • A Buddhist temple is a holy place; only vegetarian food should be consumed. If you have consumed non-vegetarian dishes, it would be best to brush your teeth and recite the Jing Kou Ye Zhen Yan (to purify karma of speech) before going to the temple.
  • We should be respectful towards all religions, Dharma Doors (schools of Buddhism), and towards the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (the Triple Gem) in all circumstances. It is best to perform recitations more and speak less. Avoid saying anything improper and creating karma of speech.
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