A puja is a simple ritual done by devout Buddhists usually before a statue of the Buddha in which respect and honour is given to the memory of the Buddha. The Pali word puja is derived from puppha meaning ‘a flower.’ During a pujà, flowers, lights and incense are placed in front of the Buddha statue, their symbolic significance is contemplated and then a few verses are chanted. Thus the pujà is both a contemplation and an outward expression of an inward conviction.
1 honour, respect, homage, 2 worship, devotional observances, devotional offerings; also offerings to Bhikkhus.
1: The Mahā-mangala Sutta Sn. 259 says that; Honour and respect towards those worthy of it, is conducive to great blessing; pūjā ca pūjaniyesu etam mangalam uttamarn See Dhp. 195f.
2: The Buddha did not think much of mere outer worship; Not thus, Ananda, is the Tathāgata respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped and honoured in the highest degree. But, Ananda, whatsoever Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni, lay man or lay woman, abides by the Teaching, lives uprightly in the Teaching, walks in the way of the Teaching, it is by him that the Tathāgata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped and honoured in the highest degree; D. 16. -;There are two kinds of worship: in a material way āmisa-pūjā and through practice of the Dhamma dhamma-pūjā The worship through practice of the Dhamma is the better of the two; A. II.
- Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.