Ritual or "Intentional Practice" in Pragmatic Buddhism
Ritual, called “intentional practices” in Pragmatic Buddhism, is centered on intention of mind. “Intent” employed during Pragmatic Buddhist ritual cultivates mindfulness and empowers the participants through their experienced loss of self during the ritual acts. The ego-self (the “me”) is disseminated into the ritual experience, so that a holistic, undivided experience characterizes the ritual act. What we mean here is that by ”getting out of our own way” during the ritual acts, we open ourselves up to the harmonizing effects the rituals have on us. Ritual is a powerful way to demonstrate that harmonious action is possible--and this harmony results from well-placed intent.
Ritual is also a matter of developing and reinforcing group trust. When we practice in a group in OPB, we open up to the reality of the Social Self--the self that is deeply grounded in its relationships with other people who support us and share our vision of a better world. The ritual experience is unsurpassed in its ability to bond people together, and, in the context of OPB, it also connects us with our past. Because we have had this powerful and empowering group experience, we can take it home with us for our personal practice. When we return to the group we renew this experience each time. Codified ritual becomes seamless as the ritual act itself absorbs the individual identity into the group identity.