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If Buddha was simply a man, why do Buddhists worship icons?

Buddhists don’t actually “worship” icons, symbols or relics exactly. They are considered more to be reminders of the concepts they represent. For example, the dorje is a ritual object which represents a thunderbolt, maleness, cosmic force and compassion, while the bell represents the female principle and the virtue of wisdom. Holding one of each represents the union of the two and the complementariness of their essences. Showing reverence for relics is another way of concentrating one’s attention on the teachings given by the Buddha. What happens when we “worship”, is that our minds are very precisely concentrated, which is a skill we want to develop in order to comprehend the true nature of reality. When the mind is concentrating single-pointedly, it is possible to exist on a different plane of reality, so “worshipping” icons can have very real, very profound effects which seem magical to our conventional minds

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