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Do you pray?

NamadaNamada Veteran
edited April 2015 in Buddhism Basics

What kind of prayers do you use in your practice?
Do you feel it works?

Some say you can get connections with "dead" teachers/arhants,
when you call for them they will come and help you,
but only if you are open to them...

In my practice iam using metta phrases, like

May I/you/all beings be happy.
May I/you/all beings be healthy.
May I/you/all beings be safe.
May I/you/all beings be peaceful. 



  • howhow Veteran

    I think that if those dead teachers/arhants sang and lived by the hopes of that prayer, then you doing likewise will be your connection to what they cherished most.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    The picture of the DL does not imply prayer.

  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    @how Yes, we will get more courage to follow their footseps with a prayer i belive. Do you normaly pray in your zen community?

  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    @vinlyn Yes it was a greeting, but now I changed it

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    But maybe we need to define what prayer actually is.
    I know people who use that physical posture for meditation, but I don't think that is prayer.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I suppose it depends what you mean by prayer. I have things I say but it is not an attempt to sway the opinion of someone out there, nor is it a way to try to connect with energy of any sort. It is like keeping a journal-a way of getting something out and letting it go. Not with an expectation of an outcome or anything. We have what we call opening and closing prayers in our sangha. I say them often at home as well. But they are meant to be an affirmation of intention rather than a traditional prayer.

    May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
    May they be free from suffering and the causes of suffering
    May they never be apart from the sublime bliss that is free from suffering
    May they remain in a state of equanimity,
    Free from attachment and aversion to those near and far.

    I am reluctant to refer to them as prayers, but those are my hangups from a Christian upbringing. The constant "He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! AMEN!" today drove me nuts. Then we went to dinner where my stepdad's family is Catholic and they say a "come Lord Jesus be our guest, and let this gifts to us be blessed" prayer, which is just a joke because no one is even present when they are saying the words, just waiting to dive into their ham and scalloped potatoes. The funny thing is, right now, I cannot even remember the words to the Lord's Prayer. It's kind of nice, LOL. Those kinds of prayers do nothing for me. Not so much because of the Christian aspect (just used as examples because it is what I was raised with) but because I just get nothing out of prayer to someone out there, even if just pretending they can hear and have something to offer me. At this point, it doesn't work for me at all. We are encouraged to do visualizations of important people in my lineage and do offerings and prayers tothem, and I struggle mightily with that aspect for the same reason.

  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited April 2015

    Yes it can be a diffrence between christian prayers and buddhist prayers...Christians are seeking something outside for protection, Jesus/God and the holy spirit.

    While buddhist prayers are coming from the inside, what you whish from your heart.
    (May all sentient beings have happiness)

    But I understand You can also pray for protection and help from arhants/boddhistwas, so these prayers are simmilar to Christians?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2015

    maybe you can find you tubes about 'the 7 branches of prayer'. It is standard in TB.. many sutras such as the Avatamsaka sutra and others follow the outline.

    The 7 branches: 1. approaching the mandala of the teacher and dharma. for example when you see the queen of england you bow.. or with your family you hug. 2. giving offerings..

    ok right here you should find a talk because I can't explain the whole thing..

    2 giving offerings.. it energizes the mandala and puts an energy dynamic. there has to be: teacher/student/teaching/time/and place... giving (which is also a wisdom perfection of the 6 paramitas).. giving energizes the teacher and student.

    1. appreciating the mandala. this is a lot like mindfulness and is kinda a celebration and tip of the hat

    2. asking the teacher to teach. not even buddha taught until people asked him

    3. asking the teacher to stay in the world and not reincarnate into nirvana

    6.?? forgot this one

    1. let the energy of the teaching go out to all beings everywhere. take your vibe to the world.

    7 branches of prayer and it is standard in Tibetan Buddhism

  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    @karasti Craving for food are stronger then being present ;) your stephdad think it is ok that you are a buddhist? Or do he think you will come to hell (or something in between)?

    Iam from a Christian background aswell, we prayed this one every night, and it felt good actually, exactly why I dont know...

    Our Father,
    which art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
    in earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that tresspass against us;
    and lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the Kingdom,
    the power, and the glory for ever and ever.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2015

    and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that tresspass against us;

    yes I think the 6th branch is actually forgiveness. finding ways to overcome obstacles to your failure to study and understand

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I couldn't even tell you how much my stepdad knows about my being Buddhist. My mom knows, we talk about it often, she is fine with it. My husband's family is pretty strict Catholic and while he would never say something like "you're going to hell!" he would probably make fun of Buddhism because he doesn't know it or understand it, and that's what he does when he's uncomfortable with something. He'd say something like "So, what, you pray to the smiling fat guy?" Thankfully, it never comes up...lol.

  • for some reason the formatting is horrible even though in my post composition it is fine (my screen show before hitting 'post comment'.

  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited April 2015

    @Jeffrey Thanks for info, Iam not so deep into Tibetan buddhism, but I will check it out, since I have listen to all the thai forest dhamma talk i can find, I will also take a look into TB. Its very interesting.

    Mandalas for example, I just get hypnotized watching at it, so I need to learn some more!

  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    @vinlyn yes, maybe it can be a combination, meditation and prayer.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I will admit that I am not consistent on this issue.

    For example, each time I went to Thailand I went to a particular Buddhist temple, knelt before the Buddha statue, and meditated-prayed thanking Buddha for my return to Thailand.

    As a Buddhist/Christian I pray my version of the Lord's Prayer occasionally and pray for intercession on occasion.

    Yet, I don't believe in prayer. I don't believe Buddha answers prayers. How could he. I don't believe God answers prayers.

    But maybe in one or both cases I am wrong. So, what harm does it do? Does it not help me focus internally on the issues at hand.

    One day, out with a Thai friend, I saw him "pay respect" to a Hindu statue, which is extremely common in Thailand. It was a good chance to ask him why Thais do that. His answer -- because what if we're (Buddhists) wrong?

  • robotrobot Veteran

    I don't pray but if I did this would be one of my favourites.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @vinlyn lol I've had the same question once in a while. "What if my beliefs are wrong and God is real!?" but I also believe that even applying most any other religion, that living a good life has to count for more (if there is a cosmic scorekeeper out there who judges us at the end of life in some way) than things like making sure you don't put a book on the floor or bowing for a statue or whatever. So, I am pretty confident in that part. Not that I live a perfect life, by any means. But I think the general advice for how to treat people and such carries through all religions and that most of the other stuff is man-made silliness.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I pretty much agree, @karasti. For me, it's about how God acts. I don't see him as a micro-manager. Between attaining awareness and death, things are pretty much up to us.

  • @how said:
    I think that if those dead teachers/arhants sang and lived by the hopes of that prayer, then you doing likewise will be your connection to what they cherished most.


    My connection to 'prayer' is at the point when the comprehensible is left. I choose not to stay in the emptiness (Peace or Islam) but find a C-d that is greater. So the prayer has a non Buddhist expression that will annoy the dead singers little but be heard by a soul none of us ever have ...

    or to put it another way:

    Our Bunny,
    which art in Choccy?
    hallowed be thy eggs,
    thy hopping come,
    thy fluffiness be done,
    in Easter as it is in Paganism.
    Give us this day our daily treats,
    and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that tresspass against us;
    and lead us into temptation,
    but deliver us from consumerism.
    For thine is the Queendom,
    the power, and the glory for ever and ever.
    Ah Women . . .

    and now back to the prayers [Lobster bows claws reverentially] ...

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