Anuttara Puja

Definition - What does Anuttara Puja mean?

Anuttara puja is a Sanskrit term that translates as “supreme worship.” It represents the highest form of worship or homage to the gods in Indian religions or the Buddha in Buddhism.

More specifically, anuttara puja is a method of devotion developed by the seventh-century Indian master, Shantideva. It consists of several spiritual exercises and is typically practiced in the Buddhist tradition. The goal is bodhicitta, a mind dedicated to others and to attaining enlightenment. It is similar to the ultimate goal of yoga of enlightenment and unification with the yogi's highest nature.

Yogapedia explains Anuttara Puja

The spiritual exercises that comprise anuttara puja, also known as “sevenfold worship,” are:

  • Vandana (obeisance, bowing down) and puja (worship) – paying homage to the Buddha.
  • Sarana-gamana (going for refuge) – committing to the path to enlightenment by seeking “refuge” in the Buddha, dharma or spiritual community.
  • Papadesana (confession of sins) – appraisal of one's shortcomings and a resolve to overcome them.
  • Punyanumodana (rejoicing in merit) – honoring one's own and others' positive qualities.
  • Adhyesana (prayer, entreaty) and yacana (supplication) – requesting the assistance of those who are more enlightened.
  • Atmabhavadi-parityagah (surrender) – the declaration of altruism and self-denial.

Some sources separate vandana and puja as distinct steps, while others separate adhyesana and yacana – in each case creating a seven-fold path of worship.

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