seagrace wrote:I have been presented with this comment:
The call of Karma demands payment of a debt when there is no creditor to receive it. So when a desire for petition is needed there is nowhere to go. One who mediates looks within, one who prays looks beyond.
I'm not sure how to respond to it, but this is my first take:
Karma demands no payment. there is no "demand" in Karma. Karma is. I would argue that prayer is a form of meditation, and that meditation is an attempt to truly understand reality, and realizing that the answers are within, not without, one practices meditation to gain understanding.
Can anybody help me with a better answer?
Although one Buddhist school, the Vatsiputriyas, used the analogy of a "debt notice" to talk about karma and result, personally I find that it is a very poor analogy to use.
I prefer the "seed" analogy, as per the Darstantikas and Sautrantikas, which describes the karma as the seed, sown in the field of the object of that karma, which grows up and matures into a flower and then a fruit.
This is a much more dynamic analogy, which allows for a range of factors taking place and influencing it, rather than a "debtor" and "creditor" of the former analogy.
Meditation has a couple of terms in the Indic languages, such as "(citta)bhavana" = "(mental) development", which has a very broad meaning, but also more specifically "samadhi", "dhyana", "samatha & vipasyana", etc. which refer to specific states of depth of mental calming and then the insight arisen on the basis of this.
The former meaning, "bhavana", may have some overlap with prayer. Though deep prayer, which develops a lot of focus on the object, may also lead to states such as samadhi, samatha, etc.
The whole notion of "looking for answers" reflects a later period of Buddhist development, whereby the initial quest to purify the mind gradually transformed into a quest to attain some "knowledge" or "insight" into higher realities. Though the former does have some of the latter, the emphasis is markedly different.
I do not think that Buddhist practice is really looking for "answers" about anything, but it is the application of various "solutions" to problems. (But not like Q & A sort of thing, there answer is "D, all of the above"!)