...Buddhism for Urban America
Urban Dharma Newsletter...
November 25, 2003
This Issue: Prayer & Buddhism
Click here for good karma
2. Re: Buddhism and prayer ...Michael
3. BUDDHIST PRAYER ...Buddhist Faith Fellowship of Connecticut
4. Prayer In Buddhism ...From SGI Quarterly
5. The meaning of prayer in Buddhism -- Robert Kurniawan
6. Buddhist Prayer Beads
7. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week:
Prayer Directory - Buddhist - Buddhist Prayers
8. Book/CD/Movie Review: Loving-kindness
Click here for good karma
is where prayer wheels enter the cyber-age. Prayer wheels are
used by Tibetan Buddhists to purify themselves and the entire
world of its accumulated negative karma. Inside each prayer
wheel is a paper or some other medium (such as microfilm) on
which a mantra has been inscribed many times over. Typically
the mantra is OM MANI PADME HUM, which Tibetans pronounce:
Om Mani Pémé Hung.
English this means "the jewel in the lotus of the heart";
it is a reference to the hidden spark of divinity within each
of us. The six syllables of the mantra are said to purify the
six negative emotions: pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance,
greed, and anger, while simultaneously engendering the six
qualities of the enlightened heart: generosity, harmonious
conduct, endurance, enthusiasm, concentration, and insight.
the mantra is inscribed once and placed into a prayer wheel,
each rotation of the prayer wheel accumulates the same merit
as saying the mantra once. Similarly, a prayer wheel containing
100 million instances of the mantra yields the same purification
power per rotation as saying the mantra 100 million times.
set your very own prayer wheel in motion, all you have to do
is download this mantra to your computer's hard disk. Once downloaded,
your hard disk drive will spin the mantra for you. Nowadays
hard disk drives spin their disks somewhere between 3600 and
7200 revolutions per minute, with a typical rate of 5400 rpm.
Given those rotation speeds, you'll soon be purifying loads
of negative karma.
you occassionally post articles to netnews, you can exponentially
increase the good karma that is generated by including the mantra
in your .sig file. Shortly after posting an article, every news
server in the world will be spinning your mantra round and round.
If we assume that the news servers are Unix machines that operate
continuously, a single news posting with this .sig will probably
spin over 5 trillion times before the article expires. Sentient
beings everywhere will be thanking you. However avoid spamming
the net, as the negative karma produced by the spam tends to
cancel out the good karma that might otherwise have been generated.
Re: Buddhism and prayer ...Michael
* Subject: Re: Buddhism and prayer
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 02:05:26 -0700
Since most Buddhists don't believe in God, or that Buddha talked
who are they praying to? Or is it just a personal development
Buddhist devotional book I have explains the purpose of Buddhist
devotional practice is effectively to express reverence and
devotion to Buddha,
generally through homage to the Triple Gem (Buddha, dhamma,
and Sangha). From this regular devotional *practice* comes spiritual
solace and development. It
stresses that this is not just for times of trouble, but a daily
It includes recitations for the departed, pregnant women, the
it is different from prayer as practiced in Western religion,
functions are largely the same. And the main object of this
devotion is Buddha, who,
as made clear in the words below, is effectively the most Supreme
who believe in God would pray to him for help and protection
experience fear, sorrow, or disturbance. Many Buddhists [laity]
could they turn to when confronted with the thoughts of fear,
helplessness. Under such circumstances, we can turn our minds
to the Buddha and
seek solace through him." (K. Sri Dhammananda) *see
to the Buddha, there are some people who pray to gods or devas
in times of danger for their own protection not realizing that
these same gods
are themselves not free from greed, anger, ignorance and impermanence.
Therefore, for our protection, it is more advisable to remember
Sangha." (p. 38, Daily Buddhist Devotions)
Buddha was the holiest, most viruous, wisest and most spiritually
perfect personality who ever lived. His Dhamma (doctrine) is
the Ultimate Truth
about the Universe which explains the real nature of the world
and of life as
Buddhas in the past are infinite in number. Of the known 28
only four Buddhas belong to this present world cycle, the fourth
being Gotama the
Buddha whose teachings we now follow. In time to come and during
of the present universe itself, one more Buddha will appear.
He will be the
Maitreya Buddha.... Buddhists pay their homage in veneration
to all these
Buddhas. In essense, all these Buddhas are exactly the same
as the Buddha of this
world cycle. They have all realized the same Universal Truth
Buddha had realized and they have all His qualities." (p.
is good to start our daily work after offering some ... objects
flowers, etc.] to the Buddha as a mark of respect to the holy
who has shown us the correct Path for our peace, happiness and
Buddhists should not be satisfied by simply offering something
name of the Buddha and reciting in a parrot-fashion some verses
thinking their duty is done. To become good Buddhists they have
to do something
they have to correct themselves by following the Buddha's advice."
fervent wish takes the place of prayer in Buddhism.... A wish
has more the
function of contemplation and meditation rather than a petition
by deeds, speech or thought heedlessly,
I have done anything wrong,
forgive me O master!
Teacher, Most Wise!"
of Khamatha me Bhante, p. 77)
me and my loved ones tonight,
O Blessed One.
Keep us away from harm and danger.
Let our sleep be peaceful so that we awake in the morning refreshed
mind." (p. 124, excerpted from Evening Recitals)
revere the Buddha, highest jewel and best balm ever, beneficial
men. By the Buddha's glory, safely, may all obstacles and suffering
from the Maha Jaya Mangala gatha, verse 3, p. 135)
is no other refuge for me. The Buddha is my matchless refuge.
of truth may joyous victory be mine!" (Maha Jaya Mangala
is impossible to visualize the Buddha even in His Rupakaya (physical
form). How much more inconceivable is His Dharmakaya (doctrinal
body) of unique
(Buddhanussati, v. 11, p. 166)
Shasta Abbey Buddhist Supplies - http://www.buddhistsupplies.com/sabsthera.htm
*DAILY BUDDHIST DEVOTIONS by
Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda
Daily Buddhist Devotions $11.25 - The Buddhist Missionary Society,
1993, 224 pp.
This beautifully produced pocket-sized book may be used for
integrating Buddhist teaching into daily life and for teaching
children about Buddhism. The means offered are short verses
for recitation (Pali, paritta) and the subjects covered include
transference of merit, loving-kindness, meditations for funerals
and other times of sorrow, offerings (puja), and paying homage
to the Three Treasures. Carefully designed and illustrated throughout,
the book includes explanations by the author and gives the verses
in both Pali and English.
BUDDHIST PRAYER ...Buddhist Faith Fellowship of Connecticut
purpose of Buddhist prayer is to awaken our inherent inner capacities
of strength, compassion and wisdom rather than to petition external
forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly
gain. Buddhist prayer is a form of meditation; it is a practice
of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative
with the virtuous and points us to the blessings of Life.
Buddhists, prayer expresses an aspiration to pull something
into one's life, like some new energy or purifying influence
and share it with all beings. Likewise, prayer inspires our
hearts towards wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves.
It allows us to turn our hearts and minds to the beneficial,
rousing our thoughts and actions towards Awakening. If we believe
in something enough, it will take hold of us. In other words,
believing in it, we will become what we believe. Our ability
to be touched like this is evidence of the working of Great
Compassion within us.
more, it can a function as a form of self-talking or self-therapy
in which one mentally talks through a problem, or talks through
it aloud, in the hope that some new insight will come or a better
decision can be made. Prayer therefore frequently has the function
of being part of a decision-making process.
wonderful thing about prayer practice is that we can do it everywhere
and anytime, transforming the ordinary and mundane into the
Path of Awakening. Prayer enriches our lives with deep spiritual
connection and makes every moment special, manifesting the Pure
Land here and now.
for all living things.
Buddha taught to have compassion for all animals as well as
human. We all have Buddha-nature.
Prayer In Buddhism ...From SGI Quarterly
is central to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. SGI members
often relate experiences of "offering earnest prayer,"
or "praying from the bottom of my heart." They also
speak of having their prayers "answered." What do
SGI members mean when they make such statements?
Webster's Third International Dictionary defines prayer as "a
solemn and humble approach to Divinity in word or thought, usually
involving beseeching, petition, confession, praise, or thanksgiving."
what way does the Buddhist understanding of prayer accord with
this definition, and how does it differ?
appears to be a universal human activity. There is evidence
to suggest that humans have been engaged in some form of "prayer"
since the earliest days of our species. As soon as humans developed
a consciousness of their relative powerlessness before the forces
of nature, the precariousness of their existence and their own
mortality, they no doubt began giving expression to intense
feelings of petition, praise or thanksgiving.
President Daisaku Ikeda has written that religion grew from
prayer; that the sentiment and act of prayer precedes the forms
that different religious traditions have since given this primordial
human act. Buddhist prayer likewise may be thought of as a focused
expression of these same sentiments of yearning, commitment
and appreciation. It is, however, distinguished by the fact
that Buddhism locates the divine within the life of the individual
practitioner. The purpose of Buddhist prayer is to awaken our
innate inner capacities of strength, courage and wisdom rather
than to petition external forces.
as in many Eastern spiritual practices, there is an emphasis
on a specific physical form of prayer. For practitioners of
Nichiren Buddhism this means reciting portions of the Lotus
Sutra and the repeated chanting of the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,"
the name of the mystic law that lies within all life, and which
Nichiren derived from the title of the Lotus Sutra. That the
chant is audibly intoned expresses the fact that in Nichiren
Buddhism prayer is not a meditative turning inward, but an act
making manifest inner qualities, bringing them out into the
members direct their prayer to the Gohonzon, or object of veneration.
This is a mandala, a symbolic representation of the ideal state
of Buddhahood, or enlightenment, in which all the tendencies
and impulses of life--from the most debased to the most noble--function
in harmony toward happiness and creativity. The Gohonzon is
not an "idol" or "god" to be supplicated
or appeased but a means for reflection and a catalyst for inner
members are encouraged to make their prayers specific, concrete
and focused on real-life problems, hopes and concerns they confront.
Nichiren Buddhism stresses the inseparability of "earthly
desires" and enlightenment. Nichiren states that it is
by burning the "firewood" of our desires--through
the act of prayer--that we are able to bring forth the flame
of renewed energy and the light of our inner wisdom. Buddhist
prayer is the process by which our intensely felt desires and
sufferings are transformed into compassion and wisdom. In this
sense, it inevitably involves self-reflection, including a sometimes
painful confrontation with our own deeply-rooted destructive
tendencies. To quote Nichiren again, "Your practice of
the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of the sufferings
of birth and death in the least unless you perceive the true
nature of your life." (The Major Writings of Nichiren
Daishonin, "On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime,"
members are also encouraged to view prayer as fully integrated
with the actions and behavior of daily life. Prayer only becomes
genuine prayer when it is acted upon. To succeed in life we
need determination and prayer, effort and ingenuity.
fundamentally, prayer is the process of bringing forth the supreme
state of life referred to as our "Buddha nature."
A potential possessed equally by all people, the Buddha nature
is the fundamental, compassionate life force inherent in the
cosmos. Prayer is the process of realigning our individual lives
(the lesser self, with all its impulses and desires) with the
rhythm of the living cosmos (the greater self). In doing this
we unleash previously untapped sources of self-knowledge, wisdom,
vitality and perseverance. And because, in Buddhist philosophy,
there is no separation between the internal world of human beings
and their environment, changes that occur in our inner life
are reflected in our external circumstances. The experience
of having one's prayers "answered" is the manifest
result of this process.
Ikeda has written that the ultimate form of prayer is in fact
a vow--a vow to contribute to the happiness of others and the
development of human society.
is this vow and pledge to action that most profoundly attunes
our lives to the larger life of the universe and brings forth
our highest, most noble "selves."
The meaning of prayer in Buddhism -- Robert Kurniawan
last and first month of Lunar Calendar is full of religious
ceremonies. Traditional Chinese people give offerings to their
deities and ancestors. The arriving of winter is the time for
"Onde-onde" and we send the God of Kitchen up to heaven
by pasting sweets to his lip so he will report all good things
about our deeds.
held a large worship table to treat our ancestors the first
day of new year and we finish off the spring festival with a
big feast for the living. In addition to the offerings we pray
either by chanting or burning incense. What do we pray for ?
We extend our appreciation to the deities and ancestors for
their protection in the year passed and request similar treatment
in the coming year. tradittionaly speaking, this is proper as
Buddhists, let us consult what Buddhism says about prayer.
is not a fallen creature who begs for his needs as he awaits
mercy. According to Buddhism, man is a potential master of himself
and the universe. Only because of his deep ignorancedoes man
fail to realize his potentiality. Since the Buddha has shown
this hidden power of man, he must cultivate each grain of spirit
and try to develop it by realizing his ability.
gives full responsibility and dignity to man. It makes man his
own master. Accroding to Buddhism, no higher being sits in judgement
over his/her affairs and destiny. That is to say, our life,
our society, our world, is what you and I want to make out of
it, and not what some other unknown beings want.
that nature is impartial, it cannot be flattered by prayers.
Nature does not grant any special favours on request. thus in
Buddhism, prayer is meditation which has self-change as its
object. Prayer in meditation is the reconditioning of one's
nature. It is the transforming of one's nature into something
better and noble. This transformation of one's inner nature
is accomplished by the purification of the three faculties -thought,
word and deed. Through meditation, we can understand that "we
become what we think" in accordance with the teachings
of psychology. When we pray, we experience some sort of relief
in our minds; that is, the psychological effect that we have
created through our faith and devotion. After reciting certain
verses we also experience the same result. Religious names or
symbols are important in order to develop this faith and devotion.
Buddha Himself has clearly expressed that neither the recital
of religious books, nor the repetition of prayers, penances,
hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring
the real happiness of NIBANNA.
the use of prayers for attaining the final goal, the Buddha
once made an analogy of a man who wants to cross a river. If
he sits down and prays that the far bank of the river will come
to him and carry him accross, under any circumstances, it will
not ever happen. If he really wants to cross the river, he must
make some efforts; he must find some logs and build a raft,
or look for a bridge or construct a boat or perhaps swim. Somehow
he must work to get across the river. Likewise, if he wants
to cross the river of SAMSARA, prayers alone are not enough.
He must work hard by living a religious life, by controlling
his passions, calming his mind, and by getting rid of all the
impurities and defilements in his mind. Only then can he reach
the final goal. Prayer alone will never take him to the final
prayer is necessary, it should be diverted to strengthen the
mind but not to beg for merit or mercy.The following prayer
of a well-known poet, teaches us how to pray. However, to Buddhists,
this is only meditation to cultivate the mind:
me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
to be fearless in facing them.
me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
for the heart to conquer it.
me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
for the patience to win my freedom."
Buddhist Prayer Beads
many people may recognize a variation of these prayer beads
among today’s newest fashion accessories, they carry a
far deeper significance in the Buddhist culture. For this
group of individuals, prayer beads, or mala beads as
they are called in the Buddhist religion, represent a meditative
tool. Their specific purpose may vary for different individuals,
but commonly the beads are used to enhance ‘goodness’
and diminish ‘toxins’. The overarching purpose
of these beads from a true Buddhist perspective is to drive
away evil and fill you and all beings with peace and bliss.
In accordance with the active nature of practice in Buddhism,
this material object is used as an accomplice for gaining merit
on the path to enlightenment.
origin of mala beads is rooted in the Hindu religion.
Individuals who converted from the Hindu faith to Buddhism during
its birth, transferred this devotional practice with them and
it soon became a part of the Buddhist faith. The story
of the beads' origin is as follows:
the founder of Buddhism, paid a visit to king Vaidunya…Sakya
directed him to thread 108 seeds of the Bodhi tree on a string,
and while passing them between his fingers to repeat…
‘Hail to the Buddha, the law, and the congregation’…
(2,000) times a day (Dubin).”
interpretation of this prayer is ‘om mani padme hum.’
During recitation, this phrase is repeated over and over again
according to how many beads are on a person’s strand of
there are 108 beads on a strand of mala prayer beads.
This number is significant because it represents the number
of mental conditions or sinful desires that one must overcome
to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Monks usually have
mala beads with 108 beads, where as a lay person may have a
strand numbering in 30 or 40 beads. This difference in
length may possibly be explained by understanding each person’s
distance traveled on the path to enlightenment. Commercial
sellers of mala beads have also suggested that individuals just
beginning this prayer ritual begin with a shorter strand of
as variety exists for the number of beads, variety exists for
the style, color, and material composition. Differences
in the popularity and use of mala beads also exist cross-culturally.
Typically, monks’ mala beads are made of wood from the
Bodhi tree. In Tibet, mala strands often contain parts
of semi-precious stones. In this culture, the most valued
strands are made of bones of holy men or lamas. Typically
there are 108 beads divided by 3 large beads. The end
pieces on these strands are “djore” (a thunderbolt)
and “drilbu” (the bell). These end pieces
represent the Three Jewels, or Buddha, the doctrine, and the
community. In Japan, mala prayer beads are popular at
social events such as funerals, weddings, and other ceremonies.
Mala beads in Japan typically are 112 in number and made of
wood. Additionally, the most coveted strands have been
blessed by a monk. In Korea, the use of mala beads has
been extensive. Their popularity diminished, however,
during the period when Buddhism was banned from the country
(1392-1910). In addition to the traditional 108 beads,
Korean mala strands usually include 2 large beads, which are
used during special prayers. In China, the use of mala
beads was never really popular. They were used, but more
commonly, they were used by the ruling hierarchy as a status
the structure of mala beads may vary among individuals or groups
of Buddhists, the overall purpose of all mala beads is to create
a sense of tranquility and inner-peace for not only the individual,
but for the community as a whole. In reciting the prayer,
‘toxins’ will leave and a sense of peace will enter
making an individual that much closer to reaching nirvana.
Soul to Spirit - Prayer Directory - Buddhist -
web page of Buddhist payers" - (First line of each prayer
Assailed by afflictions, we discover Dharma ...
* By the strength of my pure motivation ...
* Do everything with a mind that lets go ...
* For as long as space endures ...
* From the blossoming lotus of devotion ...
* I always believe that it is much better to have a variety
* I am of the nature to grow old ...
* Just as the stem of a banana tree does not exist ...
* Living beings are without number ...
* May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
* May all our defilements be dispelled completely ...
* May I be a protector to those without ...
* May I be filled with loving kindness ...
* May I become at all times, both now and forever ...
* May you be filled with loving kindness ...
* Mesmerised by the sheer variety of perceptions ...
* Nam myoho renge kyo ...
* Nothing real can be threatened...
* Now when the bardo of dying dawns ...
* O Guru Rinpoche, Precious One, You are the embodiment ...
* OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU ...
* OM MANI PADME HUM ...
* Pray to put an end to hope and fear ...
* Sentient beings are numberless ...
* Shariputra, any noble sons or noble daughters (The Heart Sutra)
* Since things neither exist nor don't exist ...
* The sun and the moon dance ...
* There is only one time ...
* This life, you must know as the tiny splash ...
* TONPA LA MED SANG GYAY RINPOCHE ...
* Through your blessing, grace ...
* Thus it is our own mind ...
When my time has come and impermanence ...
Loving-kindness Meditation — Ven. Sujiva. Free
- e-Book - (211 KB)
Meditation or Metta Bhavana and other Sublime States by Ven.
Sujiva is a clear and comprehensive step-by-step explanation
of the systematic practice. It is based on the Visuddhimagga
or The Path of Purification by Buddhagosha. The texts describe
metta as characterised by promoting the aspect of welfare. Amity,
goodwill, friendliness and loving-kindness are some words used
to describe this mental state. There is no better way to know
it than to study it as it occurs in one's own and others' minds.
It is a totally unselfish and pure state of mind that brings
profit to oneself and others now and hereafter.
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