At our 'Treeleaf Two-Day Online Retreat' scheduled for LIVE NETCAST over the weekend of DECEMBER 6 and 7, 2008 (and available in recorded form after that, for participation any time 'On Demand'). DETAILS CLICK HERE ...
... there will be times of prostrating (Raihai), done in a series or three (Sanpai) ...
I am often asked to whom or what we are bowing ... Is it to some thing, god, person or effigy?
I answer by saying that there is nothing that's true that is omitted from our bow. We might consider that we're simply bowing to the whole universe, and to ourself and the other people around us … after all, 'All is One'! The hands, palms upwards, are raised in a gesture traditionally symbolic of lifting the Buddha's feet over one's head, but that truly means lifting all things of the universe over one's head. It's appropriate to cultivate an attitude of emptying, letting go, receptivity and gratitude in our bows.
If there is some physical or personal reason not to prostrate, a simple Gassho can be substituted. However, there is greatness in the humility of the prostration.
(give the recording a moment to start)
http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... eat-3.html