Ervin wrote:Why pray to Buddha or why ask Buddha for forgiveness or blessings? Can Buddha alter karma for sentient beings?
A prostration to an image of the Buddha (or bodhisattva or arhat) expresses veneration towards a liberated being, which constitutes wholesome karma. On another level we should be aware of the principle that you emulate what you contemplate. If you contemplate or bring to mind the Buddha, you will inevitably emulate those qualities in various ways, including being virtuous.
Throughout much of the day we produce unwholesome karma and thus sink deeper into saṃsāra. To counteract this we do various practices like prostrations, offerings and recollections. If your merit is little then an unwholesome deed would be kind a pinch of salt in a small cup of water. It would change the flavour entirely. If your merit is vast, then a misdeed is like a pinch of salt in the Ganges river. It will not change the overall flavour. To cultivate merit is to overwhelm the effect of our past misdeeds, thus rendering them unable to really affect us. In that sense you wash them away though the karma is still there -- just lacking the capacity for fruition.
Repentance is an act which renders past misdeeds incomplete. You must be satisfied with a past intentional unwholesome act for it to constitute a complete act. If you honestly regret it, then provided the karma has not come to fruition it will be rendered incomplete. The fruition likewise will be made incomplete.
In the Śrāvakayāna context repentance is supposed to be done to a pure bhikṣu (a monk).
In the Mahāyāna context repentance is done in front of images of holy beings for the same effect. The idea is that although they are not physically manifest, they are still present.
Also all that I ask about a Bodisatva?
Bodhisattvas are likewise liberated beings. Some are transcendental and are no longer comprised of strictly five aggregates.
Is all that something that came out recently or is that what actual Sakyamuni Buddha taught?
That depends on who you talk to. The early Mahāsāṃghika school was quite clear in their belief that the Buddha was transcendental and omniscient. A lot of Mahāyāna practices stem from them.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81s ... B9%83ghika