There is a fine line between spiritual practice and ritual.
I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with ritual per se, I guess it’s just down to the importance one may attach to it. We all conduct various repeated behaviour in the course of our daily lives, kinds of rituals that we enact for a variety of reasons.
The chanting of mantra is in itself ritualistic, repeating the same small collection of sounds, with their vowels, consonants and dipthongs, all the subtleties of the sounds as they roll from the mouth into the air. Inevitably, there is a structure that builds up around such daily practice. As far as I understand it, these kinds of behavioural habits are not seen as particularly useful in themselves, as they can become structures to which we can become attached in an unhelpful and perhaps delusional manner – doing it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, doing things in the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ order etc.
I have always liked the non-punitive nature of Buddhist and Hindu thinking. Continue reading