Bowing…this is another tradition. Learn how to bow mindfully, putting one’s head down, surrendering oneself physically, giving oneself in the act of bowing, instead of just saying, “I am not aggressive, I am not proud and arrogant.” If you get proud that you bow so well, or if you start hating people that do not bow, then … !
This is an act of devotion, and devotion is an opening of the heart, of the emotions rather than the intellect. “How much do I gain from bowing?” You can try to figure out its advantages or disadvantages, whether it’s the real Dhamma, or it’s necessary or unnecessary. But any opinion and view that you have about it is just another opinion and view.
Bowing is something that is done or not done - giving or not giving – but heedlessness is always this rationalisation, this wanting to criticise or analyse or find reasons for doing or not doing something. If we live our lives in wisdom, then we do or not do. With awareness, we know what to do – the generous, the beautiful, the kind, the spontaneous; good actions are done through awareness, through a seeing and understanding of time and place. Or there is awareness of not doing, of wrong impulses, selfish impulses – these we do not act upon.
This reflection by Ajahn Sumedho is from the book, Cittaviveka, (ePub) p.111-112.