Devotional rituals

Buddhists use a variety of objects and actions during puja. They use images of the Buddha or Bodhisattvas. They also use images of lotus flowers, which symbolise enlightenment. A Buddhist Wheel, which represents the Dhamma, may also be present.

Theravada traditions focus on ‘making merit’. Ways of doing this include earning positive karma, making offerings to monks and nuns or a monastery, chanting mantras and reciting Buddhist texts.

Mahayana traditions include confessing bad actions, wishing others well and celebrating the good in the world.

During puja, many Buddhists will prostrate (kneel with forehead, hands, knees and feet touching the floor) towards a Buddha image to show commitment and to request blessings.

Buddhists may set aside a room in their home for worship


Rituals help Buddhists to gain a deeper understanding of the true nature of reality. This can be through showing commitment to the Dhamma, giving thanks to the community of monks and nuns (the Sangha), requesting blessings or making merit. Artefacts, chants and rituals develop understanding. Showing respect to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas reinforces commitment to the Buddhist path of wisdom, compassion and insight. It helps Buddhists to achieve the goal of ending dukkha (suffering).


What does a lotus flower represent?