I’ve been to a couple of “pujas” (offering-ceremonies) in a monastery where there were seven lined-up Buddha statues, each labelled for a past Buddha that it represented. Each statue had offerings of food, tonics, and medicine placed before it. Later on after the puja, I asked a monk who had conducted it, as to why that ceremony was done. He simply explained that “the seven Buddhas should be worshipped”. I neither accepted nor rejected this, and now I’m trying to find a Sutta reference to back that up.
I’m wondering if there is a Sutta (or anything from the Vinaya) which contains an exhortation by the Buddha to lay people or monks to formally worship (and not just mentally revere) the seven Buddhas (perhaps periodically and methodically).
You can see these Seven Buddhas mentioned by name in “The Āṭānāṭiya Discourse”, DN 32.
I suppose it’s conceivable that (with reference to the protective chant the Sutta contains) when any offensive yakkhas are making a threat (meaning “with a wicked mind should come near a monk or a nun or a layman or a laywoman while they are going, or stand near while they are standing, or sit near while they are sitting, or lie near while they are lying”), when the chanter begins to chant, and requests that the threatening yakkha “reveres” each of the seven Buddhas (and then assumedly back off), this could be construed (removing the chant from its context) to mean “everyone should worship the seven Buddhas, regardless of whether there is an imminent yakkha attack or not”.
Here’s how the chant starts (and please also read the original Sutta from the start to see the story leading up to when this chant gets recited):
“May you [the threatening yakkha] revere Vipassī,
the glorious Visionary,
may you [the threatening yakkha] revere Sikhī,
who has pity on all beings,
“May you [the threatening yakkha] revere Vessabhū,
the austere one, cleansed (of corruptions),
may you [the threatening yakkha] revere Kakusandha,
who has crushed Māra’s army,
“May you [the threatening yakkha] revere Koṇāgamana,
the accomplished brahmin,
may you [the threatening yakkha] revere Kassapa,
who is free in every respect.
“May you [the threatening yakkha] revere Aṅgīrasa,
the glorious son of the Sakyans,
he who preached this Dhamma,
which is the dispelling of all suffering.
“Those who are emancipated in the world,
who have insight (into things) as they are,
those people free from malicious speech,
who are great and fully mature,
“They will revere that Gotama,
who is of benefit to gods and men,
who has understanding and good conduct,
who is great and fully mature.
Does this seem to be the likely origin and basis for these “7-Buddha pujas”?