Puja (literally an offering) is an important aspect of Hindu and Buddhist faiths. In Buddhism it can be part of a Meditation Ritual on one of the Bodhisattvas or Buddhas. It is a ceremony in which prayers are offered to the Buddhas to request their blessings or invoke their help with one's spiritual progress. The photos below show bells and incense set up for a Tibetan style puja offering, photographs taken in Karsha monastery, Zanskar, northern India.
There are different pujas for different purposes in our lives: for meditation practice, purification, removing obstacles, long life, death, illness, business, and so on. Pujas are performed to avert and clear the three types of conditions which prevent us from achieving our worldly and spiritual goals.
Pujas can be performed for various purposes: For the dying ~ to help pacify their mind and decrease fear during the time of death. For the deceased ~ to bless and guide their mind to a higher state of rebirth and liberation. For sickness ~ to remove obstacles to mental and physical health. For success in one’s activities ~ for removing obstacles to success in one’s activities, be they worldly or dharma.
The first image below is of a Tibetan butter lamp similar to those in the photos above, you can find out more about this item on our Buddha Oil Lamp page. Kathakali is a traditional dance performance in south India. The second photo below is of a chalk and flower design on the floor that was created as part of the puja before a Kathakali dance performance in Cochin, Kerala.