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Adherence to Rites & Rituals

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Now the adherence to rites and rituals. Anything can be a ritual. We have various practices, various rituals. If you adhere to any one of them, if you cling to them in the belief that such ritual is the Path to release, then it becomes a defilement. We worship, we pay homage to the Buddha, we do Bodhi Poojas, we do Deva Poojas, we recite Pirith, we safeguard a Sila. All these are rituals. If you adhere to them, if you cling to them, then that process of adhering to it is called adherence to rites and rituals. By this process of adherence, what happens is that whenever that fails to take place, you go into suffering. There arises worry, doubt, fear in the mind that you could not do it, you could not perform it and that brings about suffering.

You must understand that all these are rituals which are impermanent and if you adhere to something impermanent, it will bring you suffering. It is not the process itself, doing it is not the problem, is not the defilement. Adhering to it is the defilement. If you don’t adhere to it, whether you do it or not, you will not suffer from it. One day you may do it, one day you may not. If you don’t do it and you lament, that is because you have been adhering. But if when you don’t do there is no lamentation, that is because you are not adhering to rites and rituals. So the Stream Winner, whether he performs such a ritual or not, he does not lament, he does not worry. He has no fear in him because he knows that that is not the Path, that does not constitute the Path to the end of suffering. Because of his knowledge of the Path, he destroys that adherence.

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