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If the Buddha is not a god, then why do people worship him?
There are different types of worship. When someone worships a god, they praise him or her, making offerings and ask for favours, believing that the god will hear their praise, receive their offerings and answer their prayers. Buddhists do not indulge in this kind of worship. The other kind of worship is when we show respect to someone or something we admire.
When a teacher walks into a room we stand up, when we meet a dignitary we shake hands,when the national anthem is played we salute. These are all gestures of respect and worship and indicate our admiration for persons and things. This is the type of worship Buddhist practise. A statue of the Buddha with its hands rested gently in its lap and its compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves.
The perfume of incense reminds us of the pervading influence of virtue, the lamp reminds us of light of knowledge and the flowers which soon fade and die, reminds us of impermanence. When we bow, we express our gratitude to the Buddha for what his teachings have given us. This is the nature of Buddhist worship.
Source : www.trulymind.com