By Rhonda Simpson,2014-12-04 22:37
9 views 0

I. About Bowing

    From the Dharma Mirror - Manual of Practice Forms:

    Prostrations could be likened to the 'emergency measure' for clearing the mind. They are a very powerful technique for seeing the karma of a situation because both the mind and the body are involved. Something that might take days of sitting to digest may be digested in a much shorter time with prostrations. The usual practice here is to do 1000 bows a day (actually 1080). This can be done all at once or as is usually the case, spread out through the day. For instance:

1 set for morning bows,

    2 sets before breakfast,

    2 sets at lunch time,

    2 sets mid-afternoon,

    1 set before evening practice,

    2 sets after evening practice.

II. Full Standing Bow

    Derived from Section 6.08 of the Dharma Mirror - Manual of Practice Forms:


    Click on each picture to see an enlarged version

    1. Put your hands in hapchang

    (palms together as shown at right), feet together

    ; Bow fully from the hips, keeping

    your back straight so your chest is

    parallel to the floor. (Your head

    should be bowed and your hands

    will drop to the level of your knees

    as you go down).

    ; As you return to the vertical

    position, your hands will also return to chest height.

Common Errors:

    1. The bow is not deep enough - a 90 degree angle should be formed by

    your body.

    2. The feet are not together.

    3. Not bringing the hands up into hapchang position at the beginning and

    ending of the bow when the body is in the vertical position. 4. The person starts to move before completing the full bow. When it is used:

    1. For greetings of Monks and Nuns when they are not in the Dharma Room

    (when we usually do a prostration).

    2. For entering or leaving the Dharma Room.

    3. Anytime you cross in front of the altar within ten feet of it, except during

    walking mediation, you must bow to the Buddha using this form. 4. At the beginning and ending of a set of prostrations.

III. Prostrations

    Form: From Section 6.10 of the Dharma Mirror - Manual of Practice Forms.


    Click on each picture to see an enlarged version

    1. Start in a standing position with the feet

    together, and the hands in hapchang.

    ; Drop gently to your knees, but still stay in

    a vertical position sitting on your heels with your hands in hapchang.

    3. Drop forward to all fours so that the right

    hand is in front of the right knee and same for left.

    ; Rock back and down so that your rear is

    touching your heels and your forehead is

    touching the floor. In this position, your

    hands should be turned over (palms up),

    touching the mat next to your ears and

    your left foot should be crossed over the

    right one. Remain for a moment in this


; Rock forward and up so that you return to

    the "all fours" position.

; Sit back on your heels and come to a

    vertical position with your hands in

    hapchang, resting on the balls of your feet


; Return to the upright standing position.

    Alternate Form:

    ; Pushing off from the kneeling position with the hands to return to the

    standing position. This is sometimes necessary if our bodies are not well

    or we have bad knees or our balance is not good.

    Common Errors:

    1. Not going all the way to the mat.

    2. Feet are not crossed.

    3. Not having hands in hapchang as you are coming up.

    4. Raising your hands above the base of the neck as you are coming up. 5. When doing prostrations during the Homage to the Buddhas chant,

    paddling or flipping your feet to get your Dharma Teacher robe off your

    heels. The correct way is to put your hands further out in front of you

    (maybe a foot in front of the mat) and this will pull the robe off your heels 6. During the standing bows at the beginning and ending of the prostration

    set, not bringing the hands up into hapchang position at the beginning and

    ending of the bow when the body is in the vertical position. 7. Not bowing together with other people - highest ranking teacher begins

    the bowing and sets the pace.

    IV. 108 Prostrations


    1. Begin in the standing bow position with you feet together and you hands in


    2. Do a Full Standing Bow

    3. Do 108 Prostrations

    4. At the end of the 108th Prostration come up to the kneeling position and

    then bow down again to the full prostration position (head touching mat) -

    this is often called a "half prostration"

    5. Return to the standing bow position

    6. Do a Full Standing Bow

    The page copyright ? Kwan Um School of Zen

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email