How does it work?

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Blackthorne
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How does it work?

Post by Blackthorne » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:18 pm

My background is Christian so I've never really thought much about it in the past but how does prayer "work" in Buddhism? Is prayer directed at a diety? Is it just a positive feeling or vibe directed at someone's need?

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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:53 pm

Blackthorne wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:18 pm
My background is Christian so I've never really thought much about it in the past but how does prayer "work" in Buddhism? Is prayer directed at a diety? Is it just a positive feeling or vibe directed at someone's need?
Depends I'd say. It is not as much directed towards a "deity". It is usually more of an aspiration and wishing. Sometimes it is directed to buddhas so they continue appearing and teaching. Sometimes it is a request to dharma guardians so they do not forget about their pledge and protect the teachings and practitioners. But I would say that most prayers are more for "us" as a means to create altruistic state of mind.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

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Re: How does it work?

Post by AJP » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:33 pm

I would say you can definitely pray to a deity

Blackthorne
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Blackthorne » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:32 pm

Ah, thank you. That makes sense. My background is in the Reformed Church and it is often said, "prayer doesn't change God it changes you." I can understand that.

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Re: How does it work?

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:35 pm

Blackthorne wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:32 pm
Ah, thank you. That makes sense. My background is in the Reformed Church and it is often said, "prayer doesn't change God it changes you." I can understand that.
I’ve been taught that’s the priority, to change oneself. But after that it’s allowed to ask for a hand with this or that.

I see evidence where prayers and offerings are transactional. where the priority isn’t self betterment. At that point prayer becomes superstition and voodoo.
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Re: How does it work?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:48 am

"Prayer" is, to a great extent defined, differently by those who do it.
One the one hand, one needs to look at what the Buddha taught regarding the concept of praying,
and on the other hand, consider that Buddhism has a vast and varied history across many cultures.

So, there are some Buddhists who pray and chant to Buddhas and Buddhist deities regarding them as "other" beings, in heaven or whatever,
and there are those who regard Buddhas and Buddhist deities as representative manifestations of their own true nature, Buddha-nature,
the mind's true state which, when attachment and grasping is transcended, reveals itself completely.
In other words, enlightenment isn't something you obtain from outside yourself.
You are ultimately responsible for your own life. Prayer exists within that context.

When Buddhists pray for, say, the suffering beings in Australia,
it's not that we think Buddha is going to make rain come and put out the fires.
part of the function is to encourage the development of compassion, both in ourselves and in others,
because compassionate motivation is the foundation of compassionate activity.
Even the Dalai Lama says that prayer by itself is practically useless if action doesn't follow.
Praying for hungry people doesn't put food into their bellies. So, many Buddhists are also involved in various beneficial activities.

When Buddhists pray for their own inner development, or to resolve inner conflicts,
then the question arises, "who is the one praying?" and so, introspection goes beyond merely examining oneself,
but ultimately, understanding that there is nothing here that can be called a self, a "me" at all,
that this is a role we imagine. But it's a very real imagining, and so is the Buddha that we imagine,
because belief in any buddhas or gods can really extend only to the limits of one's imagination.
Even a Christian can only pray to God as he or she imagines God to be (even if that belief is in a God too big to imagine).

How do you define "prayer"?
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Blackthorne » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:07 am

How do you define "prayer"?
Prayer is the yearning of the soul toward God whereby we express our desires, longings and sufferings as well as giving thanks, praise and glory to our creator and Saviour. Prayer is an act of worship and to be done corporately as well as privately, it flows from our undivided connection with the Divine and changes us. Prayer helps us to, "Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry..." Prayer alters our natural inclinations.

I understand what prayer is from a Christian perspective and I'm thankful for the question but I would prefer to stay on the topic of Buddhist prayer.

Thanks

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Re: How does it work?

Post by smcj » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:13 am

...there are some Buddhists who pray and chant to Buddhas and Buddhist deities regarding them as "other" beings, in heaven or whatever,
and there are those who regard Buddhas and Buddhist deities as representative manifestations of their own true nature, Buddha-nature,
Those two approaches are not contradictory.

People also pray to their guru as being no different than the nature of their mind. Isn’t your guru “other”?

I like the analogy where the deity is the light switch and you are the light bulb.
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Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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明安 Myoan
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Re: How does it work?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:36 am

Hello, Blackthorne.

There are verses and sutras for various purposes, like taking refuge in the Three Jewels, overcoming afflictions, developing virtues, cultivating faith and devotion for the Buddha, and so on.
There are also verses of praise for the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Prayers have a beneficial effect on our thinking, speaking, and acting.
Lotsawa House has a good selection.
A short sutra like Metta Sutta can be memorized and recited like a prayer.

In Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, bodhicitta is the essential factor in whether or not your prayers are productive and fruitful.
This is basically the aspiration to practice the path in order to bring benefits to others through our thoughts, words, and actions.

Some prayers additionally rely on the assistance of buddhas and bodhisattvas, such as Amitabha and Chenrezig.
The Three Pure Land sutras, for example, describe the benefits that sentient beings enjoy if they think of Amitabha Buddha and aspire to be born in his buddha-land.
Chenrezig is another well-known bodhisattva who bestows benefits through his mantra, "om mani peme hung."

Perhaps you'll find something of interest here as well.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Minobu
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Minobu » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:44 am

did not Buddha say "Do not look to any god or demon or even me to help you"

At the end of the day you answer your own prayers

So ,left for sentients are various teachings and schools to help one evolve to become a Buddha.


That aside I cannot help to have thought about the following;
Of what use is it to pray for samsaric desires and illness to be resolved. This endless cycle in this world of desire does not end until one's liberation is complete.

Now on the other hand, sometimes an act is needed to inspire one, mired in ignorance and darkness, to continue on the path.

I believe , and have seen in my own lifetime, that sometimes something aids us in our hour of need. Usually when one is not expecting it.

d

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Re: How does it work?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 am

Blackthorne wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:07 am

Prayer is the yearning of the soul toward God whereby we express our desires, longings and sufferings as well as giving thanks, praise and glory to our creator and Saviour. Prayer is an act of worship and to be done corporately as well as privately, it flows from our undivided connection with the Divine and changes us. Prayer helps us to, "Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry..." Prayer alters our natural inclinations.

I understand what prayer is from a Christian perspective and I'm thankful for the question but I would prefer to stay on the topic of Buddhist prayer.

Thanks
I was asking about your definition merely to understand it, to have some context so that a reply would be meaningful. “On the same page” you might say, and because to me, Christian prayer has never made any sense. So, now it makes some sense to me. Thank you.

So, this also relates to my first sentence, that prayer is different depending on how the person defines it. In this case, Buddhist prayer differs from Christian prayer in many ways, but is similar in many ways.

It is different insofar as Buddhism rejecting the idea of a soul, meaning some kind of ultimate self-being.

Also, Buddhism does not support the concept of a creator, arguing that creation infers that phenomena possess intrinsic existence. But, upon close inspection, we see that nothing has intrinsic or static existence. A cloud, a mountain, a human, etc, each only appears to exist as a unitary “thing” but that this is an illusion. Rather, all apparent phenomena are constantly changing interactions of conditional components. We cannot identify any “thing” that has been created, hence, no creator.

And lastly, Buddhism doesn’t hold an idea of “sins” to overcome. There are of course prohibitions against killing and stealing and lying and sexual misconduct and so on, but the reason these are to be abandoned isn’t due to the violation of divine law, but because they create suffering in others and in oneself, and the whole purpose of Buddhist practice is to free others and oneself from suffering.

So, those are ways that Buddhist prayer isn’t like Christian prayer.

Where I think there is some similarity is in prayer being a method for connecting one’s thoughts to the divine.
But the Buddhist would say “infinite” rather than “divine”, as in, “the mind’s true nature is infinite”,
and “prayer” would include meditation, chanting or reciting mantras, bowing, visualizations, Zen koans, various ritual activities, and so on.

All religious and spiritual traditions aim to bring their practitioners in touch with something greater than themselves, but which is also something within themselves, something not separate from who they “really are”, and to a great extent, this inevitably means letting go of one’s petty ego.

One Christian bumper sticker says, “Let Go, and Let God” and I think the Buddhist equivalent to this would be “Let go of your self-grasping and allow your Buddha-nature to reveal itself” which wouldn’t work nearly as well as a bumper sticker.

So, I think that’s “how it works”, in theory anyway.
We do all this stuff that you can call prayer in one form or another for the sole purpose of letting go of ego fixation which is, likewise, our “natural inclination” to overcome.
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Blackthorne » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:18 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 am
Blackthorne wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:07 am

Prayer is the yearning of the soul toward God whereby we express our desires, longings and sufferings as well as giving thanks, praise and glory to our creator and Saviour. Prayer is an act of worship and to be done corporately as well as privately, it flows from our undivided connection with the Divine and changes us. Prayer helps us to, "Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry..." Prayer alters our natural inclinations.

I understand what prayer is from a Christian perspective and I'm thankful for the question but I would prefer to stay on the topic of Buddhist prayer.

Thanks
I was asking about your definition merely to understand it, to have some context so that a reply would be meaningful. “On the same page” you might say, and because to me, Christian prayer has never made any sense. So, now it makes some sense to me. Thank you.

So, this also relates to my first sentence, that prayer is different depending on how the person defines it. In this case, Buddhist prayer differs from Christian prayer in many ways, but is similar in many ways.

It is different insofar as Buddhism rejecting the idea of a soul, meaning some kind of ultimate self-being.

Also, Buddhism does not support the concept of a creator, arguing that creation infers that phenomena possess intrinsic existence. But, upon close inspection, we see that nothing has intrinsic or static existence. A cloud, a mountain, a human, etc, each only appears to exist as a unitary “thing” but that this is an illusion. Rather, all apparent phenomena are constantly changing interactions of conditional components. We cannot identify any “thing” that has been created, hence, no creator.

And lastly, Buddhism doesn’t hold an idea of “sins” to overcome. There are of course prohibitions against killing and stealing and lying and sexual misconduct and so on, but the reason these are to be abandoned isn’t due to the violation of divine law, but because they create suffering in others and in oneself, and the whole purpose of Buddhist practice is to free others and oneself from suffering.

So, those are ways that Buddhist prayer isn’t like Christian prayer.

Where I think there is some similarity is in prayer being a method for connecting one’s thoughts to the divine.
But the Buddhist would say “infinite” rather than “divine”, as in, “the mind’s true nature is infinite”,
and “prayer” would include meditation, chanting or reciting mantras, bowing, visualizations, Zen koans, various ritual activities, and so on.

All religious and spiritual traditions aim to bring their practitioners in touch with something greater than themselves, but which is also something within themselves, something not separate from who they “really are”, and to a great extent, this inevitably means letting go of one’s petty ego.

One Christian bumper sticker says, “Let Go, and Let God” and I think the Buddhist equivalent to this would be “Let go of your self-grasping and allow your Buddha-nature to reveal itself” which wouldn’t work nearly as well as a bumper sticker.

So, I think that’s “how it works”, in theory anyway.
We do all this stuff that you can call prayer in one form or another for the sole purpose of letting go of ego fixation which is, likewise, our “natural inclination” to overcome.
.
.
.
Very informative post. Would you say at least some Buddhist cultures mix traditions and their Buddhism starts to look more like other religions? ex Praying to Buddha to win the Power Ball, to heal the sick, etc

Thank you

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Re: How does it work?

Post by TrimePema » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:38 pm

Blackthorne wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:18 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 am
Blackthorne wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:07 am

Prayer is the yearning of the soul toward God whereby we express our desires, longings and sufferings as well as giving thanks, praise and glory to our creator and Saviour. Prayer is an act of worship and to be done corporately as well as privately, it flows from our undivided connection with the Divine and changes us. Prayer helps us to, "Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry..." Prayer alters our natural inclinations.

I understand what prayer is from a Christian perspective and I'm thankful for the question but I would prefer to stay on the topic of Buddhist prayer.

Thanks
I was asking about your definition merely to understand it, to have some context so that a reply would be meaningful. “On the same page” you might say, and because to me, Christian prayer has never made any sense. So, now it makes some sense to me. Thank you.

So, this also relates to my first sentence, that prayer is different depending on how the person defines it. In this case, Buddhist prayer differs from Christian prayer in many ways, but is similar in many ways.

It is different insofar as Buddhism rejecting the idea of a soul, meaning some kind of ultimate self-being.

Also, Buddhism does not support the concept of a creator, arguing that creation infers that phenomena possess intrinsic existence. But, upon close inspection, we see that nothing has intrinsic or static existence. A cloud, a mountain, a human, etc, each only appears to exist as a unitary “thing” but that this is an illusion. Rather, all apparent phenomena are constantly changing interactions of conditional components. We cannot identify any “thing” that has been created, hence, no creator.

And lastly, Buddhism doesn’t hold an idea of “sins” to overcome. There are of course prohibitions against killing and stealing and lying and sexual misconduct and so on, but the reason these are to be abandoned isn’t due to the violation of divine law, but because they create suffering in others and in oneself, and the whole purpose of Buddhist practice is to free others and oneself from suffering.

So, those are ways that Buddhist prayer isn’t like Christian prayer.

Where I think there is some similarity is in prayer being a method for connecting one’s thoughts to the divine.
But the Buddhist would say “infinite” rather than “divine”, as in, “the mind’s true nature is infinite”,
and “prayer” would include meditation, chanting or reciting mantras, bowing, visualizations, Zen koans, various ritual activities, and so on.

All religious and spiritual traditions aim to bring their practitioners in touch with something greater than themselves, but which is also something within themselves, something not separate from who they “really are”, and to a great extent, this inevitably means letting go of one’s petty ego.

One Christian bumper sticker says, “Let Go, and Let God” and I think the Buddhist equivalent to this would be “Let go of your self-grasping and allow your Buddha-nature to reveal itself” which wouldn’t work nearly as well as a bumper sticker.

So, I think that’s “how it works”, in theory anyway.
We do all this stuff that you can call prayer in one form or another for the sole purpose of letting go of ego fixation which is, likewise, our “natural inclination” to overcome.
.
.
.
Very informative post. Would you say at least some Buddhist cultures mix traditions and their Buddhism starts to look more like other religions? ex Praying to Buddha to win the Power Ball, to heal the sick, etc

Thank you
people have been praying to Buddha for miracles since the times of Buddha's life

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Re: How does it work?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:54 pm

Yeah veneration of the Buddha is not something "borrowed", you can find it in the Pali Canon:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... otion.html

And of course, in the Mahayana devotion and prayer are huge. I think the major difference is that Buddhism (particularly Mahayana) is not dualistic in the manner of Abrahamic religions, so there is more emphasis on the transformation and aspiration of the person making the supplications than on the expectations of an external being.
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Re: How does it work?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:16 pm

Blackthorne wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:18 pm
Would you say at least some Buddhist cultures mix traditions and their Buddhism starts to look more like other religions? ex Praying to Buddha to win the Power Ball, to heal the sick, etc

Thank you
(Caution: you are asking the guy who never has a simple answer for anything)

I think, to answer that accurately, we have to step into a fuzzy area. In some cultures, in Nepal for example, I was told by a Nepalese friend that where he comes from they don’t really have a general word for religion. They don’t conceptualize religion as a “thing” in itself. Various spiritual traditions are just so intertwined with every day life, it would be like asking, “what do you call sunlight reflected off a chair?” There’s just not a separate category for that. Most people are a little bit Buddhist, a little bit Hindu, whatever. He told me that the word for someone specifically Buddhist, a monk or lama for example, is referred to as a “Dharma person”.

Likewise, in Taiwan, you find Buddhist statutes in all the Taoist temples. You find indigenous gods in some of the Buddhist temples. Most of the population would regard themselves as more of less a combination of Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian. If you need to pass exams, you pray at a Confucius temple. If you need to find a better place to live, you pray at a Taoist temple. If you need a funeral, you go to a Buddhist temple.

The only Buddhist sect I am aware of where people pray (chant) for material benefits in this lifetime is the Japanese Nichiren sect.

A Taiwanese friend of mine who had visited Washington DC asked me why it was that, of all the presidents, Lincoln was the only one that had a temple devoted to him. And indeed, if you consider that people go there for inspiration, and to honor Lincoln, that they may talk to the giant seated statue, that very much fits the Chinese definition of a temple. Of course, Lincoln wasn’t a god,
but then again, neither were Confucius or the Buddha.

So, yes, culture is a factor, but not only in terms of whether people regard the Buddha as a god, but also in terms of the whole concept of what a god is in the first place. And from that, what prayer even means.

I once met a Korean woman who was a Christian, but she had been brought up Buddhist. Her reason for conversion was more about practicality than doctrine. She told me, “Buddhism is much too complicated! Christianity, only one god. Much more simple!”
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Minobu » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:00 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:16 pm

The only Buddhist sect I am aware of where people pray (chant) for material benefits in this lifetime is the Japanese Nichiren sect.

.
I asked a Tibetan Rinpoche during a question period in a meeting this:

If the Buddha said do not ask for help from any god or demon or even Me why do people come here and pray for stuff.

he just shrugged.....

weird...but he made me think...he is good at that...

Anyway..people line up at Buddhist Temples and pray for things all the time...They purchase fake money to burn as an offering and incense as an offering and they believe this will get the favour of the Buddha.

There are initiations created for people to receive answer to their prayers, like Medicine Buddha and Buddha DzamBhala...

The Reality is these initiations are designed to develop the individual The individual has to realize it is all up to them and their development.

I've practiced Nichiren Buddhism and have seen results. But I always realized it was due to my Buddha Nature that anything comes about.

Nichiren emphasized not to seek the Lotus sutra outside of your self.

Besides chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo there is a mandala in the form of a scroll. it is called a Gohonzon. Down the centre is the chant , or title of the Lotus sutra which we take refuge in, which is one's Buddha Nature..Then various gods and Buddhist teachers and Buddha and Bodhisattvas , basically the whole ball of wax is inscribed.

No where does Nichiren Shonin tell us to ask deities for stuff...In fact he loathed what became of Buddhism in regards to peasants and their needs and hopes and misuse of the teachings. His is a Buddhism of personal development.

He left this scroll so we could develop ourselves..

but i do realize why you might think this is Nichiren Shonin,s way, and can't blame you at all.

Nichiren Shonin's teachings are a concise method to develop towards liberation.

As per the Christian thing..Catholics pray to Mary ,the mother of Jesus , so she will go to her son and request your prayers for you..Or they pray to saints , or God for help....never are they directed to the fact that it has to come from you and even if your prayer is answered it was due to you and not some outside force .

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Re: How does it work?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:49 am

Minobu wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:00 am

Anyway..people line up at Buddhist Temples and pray for things all the time...They purchase fake money to burn as an offering and incense as an offering and they believe this will get the favour of the Buddha.

......

No where does Nichiren Shonin tell us to ask deities for stuff...In fact he loathed what became of Buddhism in regards to peasants and their needs and hopes and misuse of the teachings. His is a Buddhism of personal development.
.......
but i do realize why you might think this is Nichiren Shonin’s way, and can't blame you at all.
Actually, the reason I had this impression is because when I visited a Soka Gakkai group many years ago and mentioned to an elderly Japanese woman that I studied Tibetan Buddhism, she replied, “oh, that’s all talk about death. You chant Myoho Renge Kyo and you can get a car, a big TV...anything you want!”
I don’t think this was Nichiren’s intent, but I have heard similar stories. I assumed it was common among Nichiren Buddhists. If not, then that’s my mistake. Sorry.
As I suggested before, there will always be people who approach the Buddhist path (any religious path) this way. Burning money is generally a Taoist practice, rather than a Buddhist one. In Taiwan, Buddhist masters are now asking people to abandon the practice to help reduce air pollution.
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Minobu » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:17 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:49 am

Actually, the reason I had this impression is because when I visited a Soka Gakkai group many years ago and mentioned to an elderly Japanese woman that I studied Tibetan Buddhism, she replied, “oh, that’s all talk about death. You chant Myoho Renge Kyo and you can get a car, a big TV...anything you want!”
Minobu wrote:
but i do realize why you might think this is Nichiren Shonin,s way, and can't blame you at all.

The thing is, well let me ask you.

People in the Gakki, like myself back in the day had their prayers answered. Mine only got answered when i prayed for someone else.

The Gakki helped each other and prayed for each other, not all but some. and stuff did happen.

why? back to the OP we are.

I think what happens is some sort of distant karma overwhelms the moment .

It's like long life prayers where certain masters know how to collect some of the boo boo's in past lives. By boo boo's i mean early accidental deaths. That life should have been longer. So they somehow grab from the past and insert it in this life, and extend life.
\ this was something taught to us during a White Tara retreat. Not really taught to us, more of an off the cuff anecdote Rinpoche knew about.


But yeah the intent of Nichiren's teachings are really about you and your development towards Buddhahood.
The chant itself is a prayer...i think mantra meditation ,like the one given in Transcendental Meditation is prayer as well...on a certain level of my understanding...prayer=doing something for your future...or others future..mindfulness, in this way of looking at it, for me is a form of prayer.

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Re: How does it work?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:53 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:16 pm


The only Buddhist sect I am aware of where people pray (chant) for material benefits in this lifetime is the Japanese Nichiren sect.
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IDK, I've seen corners of Vajrayana where wealth deity practice could turn into a really esoteric form of Prosperity Gospel, just sayin'..I've definitely seen the "gimme a new car, uh yeah of course it's motivated by Bodhicitta" thing elsewhere.
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Re: How does it work?

Post by Minobu » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:52 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:53 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:16 pm


The only Buddhist sect I am aware of where people pray (chant) for material benefits in this lifetime is the Japanese Nichiren sect.
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IDK, I've seen corners of Vajrayana where wealth deity practice could turn into a really esoteric form of Prosperity Gospel, just sayin'..I've definitely seen the "gimme a new car, uh yeah of course it's motivated by Bodhicitta" thing elsewhere.
There are all different schools of thought and various Buddhist schools . A geshe said if you see any philosophy or religion that induces one with love and compassion no matter what the belief system entails , even a concept of God the Creator,it's due to the Buddha's dharmakaya.

When Buddha turns the dharma wheel all sorts of teachings spread far and wide throughout samsaric existence in all realms.

It's like baby steps for some.
I no longer hold disdain for teachings that are obviously so far from Buddhist thought . Why?
Because of the above statement.

The whole Gakki prayers for things might seem crude , but it allows for sentients in a certain head space to be exposed to Buddhist thought.

As they develop they come to yours , PadmaVonSamba and others here on DW , way of deeper understanding.

So maybe those prayers get answered with some help from "Above" . Done for the good of the practitioner beginner and those around him or her to be exposed to Buddhist dharma.

I'm sure everyone here will one day learn something they don't know now.

It's the way.

Modern day influx of Buddhist teachings to the west is layered . I look at Star Wars as a stepping stone even.

Hippie music and festivals of the 60's and early 70's inspired me to seek Dharma.

It's all good and everything comes out in the wash.

I know nothing of Dzogchen, never heard of it till entering this forum.

Maybe one day it will be my practice.

Geshe La once told me when i wanted to impress him with my knowledge :tongue:
He said he was going to give me the highest Buddhist teaching..he looked at me and i know he saw awe...He then went on to explain that the highest dharma teaching is the one best suited for you at this moment. for some that might be Islam or Christianity , both here due to the turning of the Dharma Wheel.
my understanding, it's been been challenged before , which only helps me in my quest.

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