"The unique quality of Buddhist bowing is that, in essence, we are not bowing to an “other,” but to our own (and everyone's) innate Awakened Buddha nature. At least this is the feeling in contemplative practice. Very few Buddhists in today's world are meditators, or contemplatives, and many pray directly to Amida Buddha, or some emanation of Buddha, in much the way Christians or Jews pray. Still, we bow, as Suzuki Roshi would say, just to bow. In Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, he came up with a curious phrase: we bow to “horizontalize the mast of the ego.”"
Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Interesting discussion of bowing: