Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

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

Post by thepea » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:50 am

Praying to Buddha is the root cause of the entirety of universal suffering.
It is the opposite of the noble 8-fold path.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:32 pm

thepea wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:50 am
Praying to Buddha is the root cause of the entirety of universal suffering.
It is the opposite of the noble 8-fold path.
So if someone has never heard of the Buddha, and therefore can't pray to him, they can't suffer? Or did some poor misguided person once pray to the Buddha, therefore unleashing suffering upon the rest of the otherwise blameless universe as if by original sin?

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

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:39 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:15 am
The Buddha is dead and gone, parinibbana'd. But maybe someone else might hear your prayers, and could help you. There are many many powerful beings in higher realms.
I still do Catholic prayers.

I like it very much, I feel that it makes me very well.

I live in Brazil, a country with a Catholic majority, so I think that influences me a lot.

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

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

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

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:04 pm

This is from the commentary on the Satipatthana Sutta, the part on arousing energy and i edited it slightly https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ml#factors;
...
There is reflection on the greatness of the heritage when one thinks thus:
"Great, indeed, is the heritage of the Teacher, namely the Seven Real Treasures [Sutta Ariya Dhanani]. These are not to be got by the slothful. The indolent man is like a son disowned by his parents. He does not get this parents' wealth when they pass away. So too it is with the Seven Real Treasures. Only the man of energy gets these."

Reflection on the greatness of the Master consists in recalling the great events in the teacher's life, and admonishing oneself thus:
"Does it befit you to be slack after entering the Dispensation of such a Teacher?"

Reflection on the greatness of race is carried out by way of the fact that in entering the Buddha's Dispensation one has become the Conqueror's son, and that for such a one slacking is not fit.

Reflection on the greatness of fellows in the holy life consists of admonishing oneself thus:
"Sariputta, Maha Moggallana, and the great disciples penetrated the supramundane after much endeavor. Are you following their way of life?"
What need is there for divine intervention...
Dhammapada;
“Oneself, indeed, is one's own protector.
One does, indeed [make] one's own destiny.
Therefore, control yourself
As a merchant does a fine horse.”
How to Destroy any addiction - Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
How to Meditate: Vipassana Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors & Perceptions
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
"It is hard for such a generation to see this truth, namely, specific conditionality, dependent origination. And it is hard to see this truth, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna."

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

Post by alfa » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:56 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:40 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:31 am
I think it is a form of meditation not a prayer.
In prayer, you ask something or some help from God.
Not necessarily. The type of prayer in which one asks for something is called petitionary prayer, but that's not the only type of prayer there is in Christian (and presumably other theistic) traditions. Often, people talk about praying in order to be present with God, or to open oneself up to him, which sounds rather more like meditation than simply asking for one's wants to be fulfilled.
Would the Buddha approve of such a prayer? of course not.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:08 pm

alfa wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:56 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:40 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:31 am
I think it is a form of meditation not a prayer.
In prayer, you ask something or some help from God.
Not necessarily. The type of prayer in which one asks for something is called petitionary prayer, but that's not the only type of prayer there is in Christian (and presumably other theistic) traditions. Often, people talk about praying in order to be present with God, or to open oneself up to him, which sounds rather more like meditation than simply asking for one's wants to be fulfilled.
Would the Buddha approve of such a prayer? of course not.
I've no idea whether the Buddha would have approved of it, but my point was about different types of prayer, rather than the Buddha's approval.

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

Post by Virgo » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:29 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:20 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:15 am
The Buddha is dead and gone, parinibbana'd. But maybe someone else might hear your prayers, and could help you. There are many many powerful beings in higher realms.

I know but sometimes I like to believe in Dhammakaya and .. that Buddha(s) still exists somewhere .. not as we know of them but their essence.


:namaste:
No_Mind, that is not what the Buddha taught.

Kevin

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

Post by No_Mind » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:47 pm

Virgo wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:29 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:20 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:15 am
The Buddha is dead and gone, parinibbana'd. But maybe someone else might hear your prayers, and could help you. There are many many powerful beings in higher realms.

I know but sometimes I like to believe in Dhammakaya and .. that Buddha(s) still exists somewhere .. not as we know of them but their essence.


:namaste:
No_Mind, that is not what the Buddha taught.

Kevin
No but a vast number of Buddhists believe in it albeit from a different sect

Trikaya

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

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

Post by alfa » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:27 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:08 pm
alfa wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:56 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:40 am


Not necessarily. The type of prayer in which one asks for something is called petitionary prayer, but that's not the only type of prayer there is in Christian (and presumably other theistic) traditions. Often, people talk about praying in order to be present with God, or to open oneself up to him, which sounds rather more like meditation than simply asking for one's wants to be fulfilled.
Would the Buddha approve of such a prayer? of course not.
I've no idea whether the Buddha would have approved of it, but my point was about different types of prayer, rather than the Buddha's approval.
I thought this was a Buddhist form. My bad.

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

Post by Disciple » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:57 pm

Virgo wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:29 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:20 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:15 am
The Buddha is dead and gone, parinibbana'd. But maybe someone else might hear your prayers, and could help you. There are many many powerful beings in higher realms.

I know but sometimes I like to believe in Dhammakaya and .. that Buddha(s) still exists somewhere .. not as we know of them but their essence.


:namaste:
No_Mind, that is not what the Buddha taught.

Kevin
Malcolm won't be happy with you Virgo.

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

Post by No_Mind » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:07 pm

Disciple wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:57 pm
Virgo wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:29 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:20 am



I know but sometimes I like to believe in Dhammakaya and .. that Buddha(s) still exists somewhere .. not as we know of them but their essence.


:namaste:
No_Mind, that is not what the Buddha taught.

Kevin
Malcolm won't be happy with you Virgo.
Same thought crossed my mind

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

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

Post by Virgo » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:22 pm

Disciple wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:57 pm

Malcolm won't be happy with you Virgo.
I think you have my priorities skewed.

Kevin

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:57 pm

alfa wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:27 pm

I thought this was a Buddhist form. My bad.
It is a Buddhist forum, but your "bad" apparently consists of no more than thinking that everything that is posted should be approved by the Buddha. "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).

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mikenz66
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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:17 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:57 pm
alfa wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:27 pm

I thought this was a Buddhist form. My bad.
It is a Buddhist forum, but your "bad" apparently consists of no more than thinking that everything that is posted should be approved by the Buddha. "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).
I think that when we have a thread that uses the word "pray", then the clarification that Sam Vara gave about what "pray" can actually mean in a Christian context (i.e. not necessarily just asking for favours) is very relevant.

It's very common for Thai people to use the English word "pray" (when they are conversing in English) for all manner of activities: chanting, bowing to the Buddha statues, and so on. I don't think it's the best choice of words, but we're stuck with it.


:heart:
Mike

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Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by DNS » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:23 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:47 pm
No but a vast number of Buddhists believe in it albeit from a different sect
Trikaya
Correct, there is prayer, but more so in Mahayana, not Theravada. As others have noted, it depends on how you define prayer. If it includes recollection of the Tathagata, reverence for the teacher and teachings, offering flowers, incense, prostrations, then Theravada does that too. However, prayer as in asking for help, asking for forgiveness, then no, not in Theravada.

As I have noted in some previous posts Hinduism has more in common with Mahayana than Theravada. And Jainism is the non-buddhist path most in common with Theravada.

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

Post by ryanM » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:39 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:20 am
I know but sometimes I like to believe in Dhammakaya and .. that Buddha(s) still exists somewhere .. not as we know of them but their essence.
:namaste:
Their essence is the four elements, right?
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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

Post by thepea » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:42 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:32 pm
thepea wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:50 am
Praying to Buddha is the root cause of the entirety of universal suffering.
It is the opposite of the noble 8-fold path.
So if someone has never heard of the Buddha, and therefore can't pray to him, they can't suffer? Or did some poor misguided person once pray to the Buddha, therefore unleashing suffering upon the rest of the otherwise blameless universe as if by original sin?
I’m going by this definition of prayer
“wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome or situation.”

This is craving, doesn’t matter if you pray to Buddha or baby Jesus it’s craving and it’s the root cause of suffering,

If you have another definition then perhaps we’re talking about something different?

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

Post by DooDoot » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:40 am

No_Mind wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:44 am
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
Imo

Its wrong to pray to the Buddha when the teachings provided in the suttas have not been studied & learned thoroughly.

Its right to pray to the Buddha when the teachings are learned & there is a significant problem to solve by using those teachings.

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

Post by perkele » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:39 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:40 am
Imo

Its wrong to pray to the Buddha when the teachings provided in the suttas have not been studied & learned thoroughly.

Its right to pray to the Buddha when the teachings are learned & there is a significant problem to solve by using those teachings.
But what is the reason for this opinion? Why do you think that in the first case it is right and in the second it is wrong?

I often notice that I have "learnt" a lot of those teachings in the suttas, but do not practice accordingly. In such a case, would prayer be right or helpful?

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

Post by DooDoot » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:17 am

perkele wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:39 am
I often notice that I have "learnt" a lot of those teachings in the suttas, but do not practice accordingly. In such a case, would prayer be right or helpful?
Thanks. Your question is not accurately representing what I posted. What I posted is if (for some reason) you are in trouble, you can pray to Buddha for help, which will result in learned teachings popping into your head. I suppose prayer here is similar to mindfulness & the wisdom that pops into your head is similar to sampajanna. If you pray: "Help me Buddha", the Buddha might reply: "Perkele, my child, its impermanent; its not-self; there's nothing you can do about it". But if you have never studied the suttas, the Buddha won't reply like this. Instead, if you pray to the Buddha, the Buddha might reply: "Its your True Atman; Krishna will save you; Chant Hare Krisnha; Jesus loves you". Its like praying to the Buddha, begging to win the lottery or asking for a good financial investment. If you don't read the suttas, you might not know the Buddha does not grant these financial favours. The wisdom is in the suttas therefore it is probably better to simply read the suttas than to pray like in Christianity: "Bless me so that I may acquire wisdom".
James 1:5
New International Version (NIV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

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