Can A Theravadan Pray

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby CalBudd » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:38 pm

I know that prayer is not a part of Theravadan Buddhism. It is the goal of the Buddhist to live a life of Dhamma. Buddha does not listen to intercessory prayer and I accept it. In fact it cannot be known that if after Nibbana and death of his physical body Buddha at all exists ( since he is free from samsara ). And if he does not exist at all who can one pray to ?

I try to be a good Buddhist. But what happens when one is facing great trouble and turmoil ? Meditation is great, but can one pray to Buddha to grant one the strength to stay on the path of Dhamma ? I know this may veer dangerously close to accepting Buddha as God, something he did not wish. But my point is, accepting Buddha as my teacher can I pray to him or seek blessings in my meditation to grant me strength to fight ( again I realize the word "fight" is non Buddhist and somewhat opposed to Buddha Dhamma; what will happen in future is a result of my past Kamma and prayer cannot really rescue me ).

Such as, a highly simplified example - I am trying to give up smoking but my boss is shouting at me. I feel the need to smoke badly. The urge is overpowering. Can I concentrate on picture of Buddha for a while and remind myself that smoking is a lesser skill and I am trying to move to a trajectory of greater skill ? Remind myself of the Dhamma through his icon ? It is clinging to an icon and that should ideally not be the case. But then why are icons there in all monasteries if not to remind ourselves of Buddha and his Dhamma.


:anjali:
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:47 pm

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby CalBudd » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:57 pm



Thank you for this wonderful article. It answered all my questions. I am grateful.

:anjali:
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:03 pm

You are welcome.

Ajahn Munindo is a real mensch.

Image
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You are welcome.

Ajahn Munindo is a real mensch.

Image


He is indeed, but the picture is of Sumedho.
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:09 pm

CalBudd wrote:Such as, a highly simplified example - I am trying to give up smoking but my boss is shouting at me. I feel the need to smoke badly. The urge is overpowering. Can I concentrate on picture of Buddha for a while and remind myself that smoking is a lesser skill and I am trying to move to a trajectory of greater skill ? Remind myself of the Dhamma through his icon ? It is clinging to an icon and that should ideally not be the case. But then why are icons there in all monasteries if not to remind ourselves of Buddha and his Dhamma.


:anjali:

I wouldn't exactly call that praying.

If you pray are you developing Right View or Wrong View?

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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:22 pm

"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:You are welcome.

Ajahn Munindo is a real mensch.

Image


He is indeed, but the picture is of Sumedho.
Yes, it is. That is what happens when posting things when I should be in bed sleeping. Just make up for such bone-headedness, here is a photo of the two of us during our samanera ordination at Wat Bowan and directly after (the to be Ajahn Munindo on the right in both photos):
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This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Location: Turtle Island

Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:26 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Can A Theravadan Pray

Postby Coyote » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:58 pm

Here is another talk about prayer, by sister Santussika. It has been a while since I have listened to it, but hopefully you find it useful/interesting.
http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/2359.html

Personally I don't pray in the usual sense of the word, and don't believe conversation with a higher power has much to do with Buddhism. But what I have got from talks like this is that a careful, prayerful attitude is a good thing to have, and that vocalised aspirations and devotional chanting take the outer form of prayer and place it into the context of the dhamma.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
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