Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

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Gwiwer
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Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Gwiwer » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:08 pm

I know that lay practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism frequently pray to deities, bodhisattvas, and so on such as Tara for divine protection or intervention for everyday kinds of problems like health, finances, relationships, family issues, protection during travel, and mental or emotional problems. What I've been wondering is if this is merely a folk belief not officially endorsed by the religion or if this practice actually forms an integral and officially recognized role within the religion both for lay practitioners as well as those who've taken formal monastic vows or whatever occurs when a person decides to devote themselves to practicing Tibetan Buddhism at a deeper level than simply being a layperson. I mean, would a respected guru ever pray directly to Tara hoping she will provide some sort of miracle, protection, or intervention?

It seems like a straightforward question, but I've been having some trouble finding answers from reliable sources. Some sources are telling me that it's merely a folk belief heavily discouraged by advanced practitioners while other sources are saying that this is indeed an integral Tibetan Buddhist practice utilized by practitioners of all levels and backgrounds. I'm not really sure who to believe on this because it can be quite hard to verify information about the religion through qualified sources on account of the tendency towards secrecy and withholding knowledge from practitioners until they prove themselves ready to learn it that exists within the religion. So, I just figured I'd ask here and hope that some people more knowledgeable than me might be able to provide a clearer answer on the subject.

Andrew108
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:51 pm

It's profitable. In my view it has nothing to do with genuine dharma.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

Gwiwer
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Gwiwer » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:14 pm

You might have to define profitable for me. I can't really tell if you mean it in the sense of "something that works and is beneficial", "something that makes money", or both of those things.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:38 am

In my experience (with my teachers, that is), so called "prayers" or other ritual practices have to do with the removing of obstacles to things happening, rather than making things happen.

So for example, if a person is sick and a lama does some ritual or whatever, the ritual or prayer isn't what heals the person, because the person is either going to get better or not get better depending on infinite causes and circumstances (karma). What the ritual does is to remove the obstacles so that whatever might be employed to help the sick person.... even the use of some western scientific equipment, that the function of this remedy operates unimpeded.

This is different from the notion of "faith healing".

My teacher does this without charging money or asking for money .
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Konchog1
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:45 am

Yes.

Praying for things beyond what one needs to survive is frowned upon and monks wouldn't usually pray for good relationships etc. but yes.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Gwiwer
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Gwiwer » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:02 am

That makes sense and accords with one of the most common perspectives I've been running across from people who favor the idea of Buddhist prayer. Generally, they say that the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and some deities serve as a kind of cosmic source for all the positive, compassionate, wish-fulfilling potential of the Universe for all sentient beings, but many beings are unable to benefit from most of this powerful goodness because their karma prevents it. In that regard, I could see things like prayer, mantras, meditations, and even rituals like creating a sand mandala as being methods for purifying oneself of the negative karma and focusing the mind into a more compassionate state that would make one more capable of benefiting from the pure goodness that these sources are capable of generating. That idea makes a lot of sense to me.

It just leaves me wondering if it's considered acceptable to pray to, for instance, Tara with a specific aim in mind. To use an example from my life, my dog, who's pretty much been my best-friend for the past 12 years died the other day and I've been pretty depressed about that because I would do almost anything to help him. Of course, now that he's gone, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot left I could do for him. It makes me wonder if there's any merit to the idea of praying that he be comforted now and guided by Tara or any other being potentially capable of this towards whatever next incarnation would be best for him. I mean, that isn't the only reason why I'm thinking about this. I've often pondered the concept of Buddhist prayer in the past, but this experience has really renewed my interest in the subject in a much more significant and personal way because, without prayer or some other direct method of trying to help him, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot I could do other than sitting around feeling kind of depressed and powerless.

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practitioner
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby practitioner » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:56 am

Making aspiration prayers that they may have an auspicious rebirth and meet the dharma in future lives is a common and very helpful for pets after their death.
One should do nothing other than benefit sentient beings either directly or indirectly - Shantideva

Yudron
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Yudron » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:50 am

[quote="Gwiwer"]
It just leaves me wondering if it's considered acceptable to pray to, for instance, Tara with a specific aim in mind. To use an example from my life, my dog, who's pretty much been my best-friend for the past 12 years died the other day and I've been pretty depressed about that because I would do almost anything to help him. Of course, now that he's gone, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot left I could do for him. It makes me wonder if there's any merit to the idea of praying that he be comforted now and guided by Tara or any other being potentially capable of this towards whatever next incarnation would be best for him. /quote]

Of course this is acceptable! Faith and devotion open the heart, how could that be bad? Tara embodies the capacity to help immediately -- strong and swift. She loves everybody! I daresay most lamas pray to Tara. I believe two of my lamas recite a 21 Taras prayer everyday.

These archetypes with arms and legs help us focus our intention.
Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

Andrew108
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:40 am

The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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tomamundsen
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:35 am

Prayers, at the least, certainly exist in the form of aspirations and supplications to various deities who are beyond samsara. In fact, they are an integral part of some practices, including guru yoga.

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waimengwan
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby waimengwan » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:46 pm

PadmaVonSamba - Thank you very much for sharing yes that sounds correct. A protector like Setrap remove our obstacles, so if we pray to recover from an illness, the protector is helping to remove the obstacle so our medicines and doctors are more effective in treating us. Makes a lot of sense now that you said it.

So the protector is creating the conditions so that we can heal, perhaps even delaying certain karma to manifest so the good karma can work better without the bad karma manifesting.

There is a Gaden Puja House in Dharamsala that helps to do pujas and the money goes back to the monastery.
http://www.kechara.com/kechara-house/re ... oly-monks/
So many lay people go there to do pujas to get the help they need.

So we have also started Shabten Khang in Malaysia
http://www.kechara.com/kechara-house/pu ... ten-khang/
I mean if Lama Atisha made Wealth vases under Tara's instructions to spread the dharma, why not a Puja House that the pujas are authentic and learnt form the monks of Gaden.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:57 pm

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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Nemo
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Nemo » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:28 pm


Gwiwer
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Re: Prayer and Miracles in Tibetan Buddhism?

Postby Gwiwer » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:45 pm



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