Buddha on Avoiding Ritual and Ceremony for the Relief of Suffering
Knowledge, skill and ability are conductive to success and benefit and are auspicious omens, good in their own right regardless of the movements of the heavenly bodies. With the benefits gained from these qualities, one will completely outstrip those foolish people who just sit making their astrological calculations.
If the water in rivers (such as the Ganges) could really wash away sins an suffering, then the turtles, crabs and shellfish living in those sacred rivers ought to be freed of their sins and sufferings too.
If a man could eliminate suffering by making offerings, paying homage and praying, there would be no one subject to suffering while in the very act of making obeisances, paying homage and performing rites, this is clearly not the way to liberation.
Quoted from. Bhikku Buddhadasa, Handbook for Mankind.