Meaning of prayer

Requesting and offering prayers and aspirations for those in need.
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avatamsaka3
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Meaning of prayer

Post by avatamsaka3 » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:04 pm

Hi there, I'm wondering: What does prayer mean to you in the Buddhist tradition? Who or what is the recipient of your prayers?

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Aemilius
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by Aemilius » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:10 am

Are you familiar with the 12 links of becoming, or pratitya samutpada? There it says: 1.dependent on ignorance karmic formations arise, 2.dependent on karmic formations consciousness arises, 3.dependent on consciousness name and from arise, etc... In this way the whole of conditioned existence arises or manifests. Now "prayer" is a type karmic formation, it is a volition, an imagining of how you would like the the outer world to be or to manifest. Mental formations or volitions are karmic actions in Buddhism, they produce consequences.

Buddhism sees that there are other levels of being than humans: gods or devas and brahmas, dragons, asuras,... buddhas and bodhisattvas... It is said in the Dhammapada that one's own mind can do more good to oneself than any other being can. So why should we pray for anyone or anything? I don't know, but prayers are also volitions and aspirations, as was said earlier.

There are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who have made vows to help beings sunken in the sea of transmigration. You can for example look at the vows of the Medicine Buddha Lapis Lazuli Radiance or the vows of the Bodhisattava Kshitigarbha. These can be found in the sutras and commentaries of the Mahayana.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

avatamsaka3
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:20 pm

So your idea is... it helps us, basically. But doesn't necessarily help the object of prayer.

smcj
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by smcj » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:06 pm

Who or what is the recipient of your prayers?
Enlightened beings of all kinds who have the “hook of compassion”. The “ring of faith”, as expressed in prayer, is us doing our part.

Selfish prayer is not encouraged.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

avatamsaka3
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 pm

OK, but by what means is the help transmitted to them?

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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:45 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 pm
OK, but by what means is the help transmitted to them?
My understanding is like this. Everything is connected, if you liberate yourself you also help others. Do you know how the entire room suddenly gets cold or heavy when there is some conflict even if it isnt on you or neccessarily near you or in any way directly influencing you? This is basically us experiencing it directly in a way.

Garchen Rinpoche basically says that we are of one nature anyway so when we develop love we help all beings be more loving. (Might be just my misinterpretation)
“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.

avatamsaka3
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:00 pm

OK, so more of a... global network of energy-intention, kind of thing.

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well wisher
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:29 pm

Benevolent prayers and wishes helps form the start of beneficial intentions.
Even better if there are follow-up actions compatible with those prayers.
Right intention is an important part of the 8-fold noble path. :anjali:

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Meaning of prayer

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:33 am

Some buddhists pray to enlightened beings for help or blessings
And for others, Prayer is basically an aspiration or wish.

One conceives of the being (buddha, bodhisattva, protector, etc) who one prays to
as having some kind of “reality”, obviously, or else one wouldn’t bother.
Likewise, at that moment, we also experience having some kind of self-reality,
Some kind of “me” that is making a prayer, or else we wouldn’t bother,
Even when we know this is illusion, because we are still not free of this illusion.
That’s the context.


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