Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
chownah

rightviewftw
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:58 am
The kind of prayer many people are talking about in this thread (supplication) as if it is prayer as such accounted for about 5% of the prayer I did for years as a serious practitioner in an Abrahamic tradition.

The recollection of the Buddha that the suttas praise, and which seems to lead to jhana, or just short of jhana, is similar to what an Islam is known as remembrance of God (Dhikr-ullah): Contemplating, keeping in mind, emulating and invoking the Divine Names (mercy, compassion, etc). Dhikr funny enough encompasses much of what we Buddhists call Sati-Sampajanna (mindfulness of what one is doing at all times, along with the ethical teachings that one is trying to actualize. In Islam this to a large extent falls under what is known as ihsan, often deceptively translated as "virtue") ... and it involves formal "sitting meditation" and leads to states of absorption and insight. Of course Right View is not there, so its not Buddha Dhamma, but the structural similarity is undeniable.

Prayer for a Muslim*** in the beginning stages is about submitting oneself to the Divine and at the highest level annihilation (fana) of the self (nafs) in the sheer Existence (wujud) that is the Deity: The highest form of prayer is when it is God who remembers Himself and "you" are nowhere to be found. (cf. Meister Eckhart: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me...")

So yeah I'd call that prayer, and say its a wonderful thing to "pray to the Buddha."

***This is just an example. We'd find similar things in the other Abrahamic faiths.
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:22 pm

I think that some people are confusing "praying TO the buddha" with some sort of "praying ABOUT the buddha"......this thread is supposed to be about praying TO the buddha which would be addressing some sort of verbalisation (I guess) to the buddha.
chownah

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aflatun
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?
Plenty of people sure, but just like Buddhism its a mixed scene. There are groups led by teachers that are 1) knowing charlatans 2) well meaning but deluded 3) legit. #3 is super rare. And in this tradition being a legit teacher means having a legit transmission (baya) from a legit teacher, so you can imagine it gets hairy. That said I've known many dedicated practitioners that didn't have a perfect teacher. In the middle east there there still exists a tradition that is master-student based and involves systematic study of theology (kalam), logic, philosophy (falsafa) and these contemplative practices (tasawwuf, i.e. "sufism"). Similar to the way rigorous scholastic training is wedded to intensive meditation practice in the Tibetan tradition. It's out there, but its hard to find.

And yeah while the practice encompasses all activities of normal life and can be implemented in a variety of ways, it comes to a head in sitting-type practice which usually involves actual repetition of a name, like a mantra. But that's not the only way its done. Some people use the breath, some people do visualization or 'staring' type practices, some people even dance (@39 seconds) . And there are various schemes associated with all of this that amount to a 'progress of insight' also, most clearly articulated by Ibn Al Arabi, Suhrawardi, Mulla Sadra, etc.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

rightviewftw
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm
Thanks i have a friend who is very muslim and a strong person. So maybe i should help him make the Absorbtion Jhanas instead of going about it intellectually because he does not like to talk about his doubts.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

James Tan
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:02 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm
James Tan wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
chownah
Sometimes
Last edited by James Tan on Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 pm

one of the things I ask in my prayers is energy to practice the Dhamma of the Buddha. I know that there are many techniques to awaken energy, but in this case prayer helps me a lot.

for example: at some point in the day I go to meditate and I'm lazy, I say a prayer and 5 minutes later I'm with the renewed energies ready for another hour of meditation.

just words self suggestion? Mind power? help of divine beings? I do not know, I just know it works.

maybe when I'm more advanced in practice I will not need prayers. when you are firm in the practice of the Dhamma of the Buddha.

prayers for angels (devas) prayer for God (superior Devas).
There were, monk, recluses and brahmans in the world before you who practised austerities for a term as long as your whole life. These would know thus: either, if there is another further escape: There is another further escape; or, if there is not another further escape: There is not another further escape. So I, monk, say this to you: You will never see another further escape however much yon may go in for toil and trouble. But if you, monk, would ascertain extension, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain cohesion, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain heat, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain motion, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain creatures, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain devas, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain Pajāpati, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain Brahmā, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed.

But I too, Brahma, know this: If I were to ascertain extension, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain cohesion, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain heat, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain motion, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain creatures, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain devas, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain Pajāpati, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain Brahmā, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed.

Moreover I both comprehend your bourn, Brahmā, and I comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus:

As far as moon and sun revolve in their course
And light up all the quarters with their radiance,
So far extends the thousand-world system:
Here your sway is exercised.

But do you know the distinctions?
The passionate and dispassionate likewise?
The becoming thus, the becoming otherwise,
The coming and the going of beings?

It is thus that I, Brahmā, both comprehend your bourn and comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus. But there are, Brahmā, three other classes which you do not know, do not see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Radiant ones from which you have passed away, uprising here; but because of your very long abiding (here), the recollection of it is confused, and because of that you neither know nor see it; I know and see it. Thus I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you? There is, Brahmā, the class called Lustrous ones which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Vehapphala which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you?

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn49

:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

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binocular
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by binocular » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:16 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
Hence:
binocular wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:01 pm
How many people pray (as in: petitionary prayer) to the Buddha, with the quiet conviction that it is safe to do so, because the Buddha ain't gonna reply anyway ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

James Tan
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:13 am

It seems ,
many monks and lays , whether Theravada, Mahayana , Vajrayana , doing morning and evening services , chantings ,
making offerings of fresh water, incense and the lighting of candles to the Buddha rupas ,
these are all consider a kind of praying .

Perhaps they are all wrong .

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bodom
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by bodom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:19 am

If prayer brings you peace of mind then continue with it. Just don't expect for them to be answered.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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aflatun
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:09 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm
aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm
Thanks i have a friend who is very muslim and a strong person. So maybe i should help him make the Absorbtion Jhanas instead of going about it intellectually because he does not like to talk about his doubts.
That's how I would approach it, if I were to approach it at all, because I don't engage people on these things unless they come asking. You can both get along in developing sati-sampajanna and samadhi even if the view is different.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:36 pm

Imee Ooi - The Chant of metta ( Lyrics: Pali & Eng)




:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

chownah
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:29 am

I think that if people feel the need to ask for divine help and they find that it does help then that is a good thing.....and.....they should not use this asking for help as a way to slack off from their own efforts to help themselves.
chownah

ieee23
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by ieee23 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:46 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:44 am
More often than not I end up praying to the Buddha.

Is that wrong practice?

I know the Buddha said
Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta
but does it prevent us from praying to him?

The prayer usually is "Wise one, Awakened one, namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa, I bow before you .. I am a small human being with no great understanding of this world and Dhamma ..

Bless me so that I may acquire wisdom, give me strength so that I may be alive long enough to acquire wisdom .." and so on

:namaste:


Wrong, no.

What is the point? He passed into full nibanna. There is nobody left to hear your prayers.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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No_Mind
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:49 pm

ieee23 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:46 pm
Wrong, no.

What is the point? He passed into full nibanna. There is nobody left to hear your prayers.
Well that is Theravada point of view. Mahayana holds different view. And I should not have asked it in a Theravada forum to begin with

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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