108 Prostrations & Significance

For the past few months, I have been sharing one of 108 Buddhist prayers I learned while in Korea on Instagram. If you are late to the party, follow along here!

In Yoga and Eastern Religion, the number 108 comes up a lot. At the bottom of this post is a list of reasons this number is considered sacred.While in Korea, I went to the temple on the one day a year where all high schoolers take Korea's version of the ACT or SAT for college. Unlike the US, you only get to take this test once a year and your score determines your university. On that day, I observed many mothers at the Buddhist temple, with photos of their adolescent children at their feet, practicing 108 bows. My friend explained in Buddhism one bows or prostrates 108 times to be awake from 108 different kinds of delusions (the source of all the sufferings).

One of the most beautiful things to witness on our travels was the deep spirituality engrained in each culture and the different ways in which they prayed.

Sharing one of these prayers per day has been a daily exercise to cultivate my own spiritual growth. While I do not subscribe to any one religion, I consider the lessons of all religions to be valid. I have enjoyed the process of reflecting on one prayer per day, it's fundamental truth, and how to incorporate it into my daily life. Take a look at the ones I've shared so far below, and let me know which one resonates with you by commenting on this post!


  • 108 Beads on a Mala (Repeat Mantras 108 times)
  • 108 Upanishads (Ancient Sanskrit Texts)
  • 108 marma points on the body (107 points with the mind being the 108th)
  • Buddhism: 108 bows to free oneself from the 108 defilements
  • Hinduism: Shiva has 108 names
  • Hinduism: Represents the completeness of existence and creation: 108 = 1 + 0 + 8 = 9; The number 9 is associated with Brahma the Creator.
  • Astrology: The diameter of the sun is about 108 times that of the diameter of Earth. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the sun’s diameter. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is approximately 108 times the moons diameter.

72 of 108 Buddhist Prayers

1. Paying deep respect to all life I prostrate.
2. Being humble and letting bad habits fall away, I prostrate.
3. Putting down the selfish mind that first accords self-interest, I prostrate.
4. Mindful of the fact that you and I are Ho equally precious, I prostrate.
5. Controlling endlessly arising greed, I prostrate.
6. Patiently seeing anger in my mind as it is, I prostrate.
7. Looking back at my life with all my heart, I prostate.
8. In order to find the True Self and to increase inner growth, I prostrate.
9. Putting away deluded mind and wishing wisdom to grow in me, I prostrate.
10. Praising myself for having patiently walked through the difficult path of life, I prostrate.
11. Thanking myself for having distanced evil and befriended the good, I prostrate.
12. Thanking all of my relations for having made possible who I am today, I prostrate.
13. Thanking my parents for their endless love, I prostrate.
14. Thanking all teachers who have led ne to Truth, I prostrate.
15. Thanking friend and colleagues with whom I have shared difficult times, I prostrate.
16. Thanking my ancestors to whom I owe my existence, I prostrate.
17. Thanking the infinite grace of air, water, nature and universe, which are the fountains of life, I prostrate.
18. Reflecting on whether my immoderate greed has brought forth misfortune, I prostrate.
19. Reflecting on whether my obsessive love for someone has caused suffering, I prostrate.
20. Reflecting on whether I have antagonized another in self-righteous pride, I prostrate.
21. Reflecting on whether I have harmed another in blind greed, I prostrate.
22. Reflecting on whether I have misunderstood someone, I prostrate.
23. Reflecting on whether I have scared another while pursuing my own will, I prostrate.
24. Reflecting on whether I have lived in unnecessary luxury and vanity, I prostrate.
25. Reflecting on whether I have been wasteful with what could have been saved, I prostrate.
26. Reflecting on whether I have continuously rationalized wrong behaviors, I prostrate.
27. Reflecting on whether I have broken promises lightly, I prostrate.
28. Reflecting on whether I have tormented myself in fixating on the past, I prostrate.
29. Reflecting on whether I have limited myself in fear of the failure, I prostrate.
30. Reflecting on whether I have tarnished another’s honor to protect my own, I prostrate.
31. Reflecting on whether I have seen only the negative, neglecting the positive I prostrate.
32. Reflecting on whether I have been caught up in fear, thus failing to work through difficulties, I prostrate.
33. Knowing that the fullest effort archives all, I prostrate.
34. Loving and caring for myself just as I treat a precious jewel, I prostrate.
35. Giving alms without expectation of return, I prostrate.
36. Knowing that misfortune and fear come and go, I prostrate.
37. Knowing that every day is a fine day with good people and good events, I prostrate.
38. To sow seeds of goodness, knowing that all are reaped as it is sown, I prostrate.
39. To humbly accept what has been sown, I prostrate.
40. To do my best even when it seems trivial, I prostrate.
41. To be content with a life of hard work and honesty, I prostrate.
42. To keep the smallest promise without fail, I prostrate.
43. To walk steadily the path of truth even in censure and scorn, I prostrate.
44. To live as a warm-hearted neighbor without condemning others, differing beliefs, I prostrate.
45. To be awake in the moment, unbound by the past or the future, I prostrate.
46. To have loving-kindness for everyone rather than exclusive love for my family, I prostrate.
47. To HAVE a heart embracing others in warmth, I prostrate.
48. To be passionate in each moment of work without delaying what needs to be done, I prostrate.
49. To the best thing possible in each moment without wasting time, I prostrate.
50. To go toward the goal without idleness, I prostrate
51. To admit to faults without self-justification, I prostrate.
52. To face difficulties without avoidance, I prostrate.
53. To face new challenges without resting in the familiar, I prostrate.
54. To apologize for mistakes in humility, I prostrate.
55. To be open-minded and to be able to laugh in happy moments of life, I prostrate.
56. To be of comfort to all I meet on the path, I prostrate.
57. To take part fully in organizations that help neighbors in difficulties, I prostrate.
58. To be clear and at peace in a world of turbid chaos, I prostrate.
59. To see in challenges and crises the steps to joy, I prostrate.
60. To stay strong, focused on my goals when faced with difficulties, I prostrate.
61. To accept tasks naturally as they are given, I prostrate.
62. To share true and trustworthy friendship without thought of return, I prostrate.
63. To accept injustice without resentment as an opportunity to reflect on myself, I prostrate.
64. To think of illness as a medicine, an opportunity to bring strength to my practice, I prostrate.
65. Thankful and loving by letting go of hatred and envy, I prostrate.
66. To live fully in joy without feeling empty or lonely, I prostrate.
67. To be calm and at peace without anxiety and fear, I prostrate.
68. To behold the moments of crisis with compassionate eyes, I prostrate.
69. To be able to accept unexpected misfortune in humility, I prostrate.
70. To leave behind suffering by realizing the transience of power and wealth, I prostrate.
71. To help others with tender and thoughtful action, I prostrate.

... Follow along on Instagram for the rest!


Taryn Vander HoopComment