Buddhist prayers


Hi All, so my family (and some high school students–my parents are teachers) was recently in China and while we were there we visited Lantau Island, which is the site of a famous Buddha statue and a Buddhist temple/monastery (not exactly sure which or if it was both). While there, they had some yellow sticks (not exactly sure what they are called) that you were invited to light and place, presumably as a prayer of sorts. I didn’t know how I felt about participating in that (i.e. is that kind of worshipping a false god? Is that bringing people together by participating in a cultural/religious practice of theirs?).

I ask this now because I am making a video of the trip and wondering if I should include video of us (or the high school students) participating in that.



First of all, Buddhists don’t worship gods. It’s not a god-based religion, and when gods appear in their literature, they are mainly literary or didactic devices that can be ignored at will.

Buddhists offer incense to Buddha as a token sign of respect and gratefulness for his teaching, not as worship. They do not consider him a god, but as a man who obtained spiritual enlightenment and passed his insights on.

The things you saw are called Joss sticks. They are just incense. They are a common feature of Buddhist rituals, but with no particular religious significance of their own. You can assign whatever meaning you want to them.

As for including it in the video, that is another matter entirely. Depends who the intended audience is. If some people in the audience are the type who will be “scandalized”, it might be wise to leave it out, even if they have no real reason to be scandalized. Otherwise, there is no problem including it.


Thanks for the response Andrew. Who are the type likely to be scandalized by it? And what exactly do you mean by that? It will be shown to the students and their families, and other students as we try to recruit for future trips. Certainly some of those students are Christian, others are not religious. Who are the type that you think might be “scandalized?”


Generally, conservative Christians who don’t know anything about other religions and recoil at anything that is foreign to their way of thinking.



Dont spread error. No true Christian wants to get infection.


@toddy, what do you mean by that? Are you agreeing or disagreeing with Andrew?


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.