praying to god

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befriend
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praying to god

Postby befriend » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:25 pm

i dont believe in god at all, but i do like to pray to him and imagine it or him/her in the heavens listening to me. i like the way praying makes my mood feel, its a place of deep rest and its feels like i can talk to god about my concerns and whats on my mind. i mostly do it because it makes me feel good. i do think praying has a good effect on my body and it improves the quality of my life, it might be my favorite thing to do. do you think this is a deterrent to my practice, or will it help my practice. like i said in my heart i am an atheist in terms of god, but i do find much comfort in praying to him. is this form of praying an attachment or beneficial? thank you. metta, befriend.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Re: praying to god

Postby chownah » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:09 pm

If this practice should lead you to some understanding or insight about things that will help you along the path then it will have been proven beneficial....if not...then not....Feeling good is fine but it means really very little....if this is all you are getting then it is probably on the par of watching a movie.....Could watching a movie be beneficial?.....in the same way as I have just described then I suppose it could be......but usually it is not...I guess....

Children get a good feeling when they sit on Santa's knee at the dept. store.....is this beneficial for them?

chownah

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Re: praying to god

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:14 pm


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Re: praying to god

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:21 pm


befriend
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Re: praying to god

Postby befriend » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:27 pm

goofaholix thanks for burning up some of my wrong speech karma for me. i have the tendency to have harsh speech no doubt i was verbally mean in a past life, and now in this life, people seem to like to hurt me with words. but i am learning in this body. to be like a cracked bell, and understand people speak harshly to me, because of my karma, and they are teaching me that kamma has vipaka. i wont repeat the same mistake this life and i will TRY to only utter pleasant words. so i hope your mind is joyful.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Re: praying to god

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:42 pm


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Re: praying to god

Postby sattva » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:58 pm

I am kind of curious as to what you pray about...if you are praying for things to happen or not happen, if you are praying to be kinder, wiser, etc, if you are praying for others....

Personally, on the whole i don't see anything necessarily wrong with it depending on what you are praying about. There are Buddhists in the Mahayana tradition that "pray" to Bodhisattvas. I myself think it is better in that example to instead focus on say the compassion of Kuan Yin with the idea of embodying her characteristics or Manjursi, his wisdom and determination.

i don't believe in God either, but i do believe there are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (in Christianity they might say God and angels) who can hear you and know your heart. What i think anyone of any religion has to watch out for is when they think they are being guided by such beings, especially when the behavior being ascribed to follow is detrimental to self or others. I really want to be clear that i am not saying this is you. i am just making a statement in general.
I wish you well, befriend!
with metta,
sattva

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Re: praying to god

Postby Fede » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:17 pm

"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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befriend
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Re: praying to god

Postby befriend » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:04 pm

hahah its like playing make believe. its like pretending im luke skywalker and fighting darth vader with a broom stick. i know its not real but its still fun. i like to think there is some wholesome intellgence that is all aware and can hear me. so i put my hands together in prayer and i say i am grateful for being a human, i hope all beings are safe, i love you god. blah blah. i dont think god is real, but it feels nice like i said. this topic was about wether or not this is beneficial or detrimental to my spiritual cultivation. its not about how weird the atheist praying to god is.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Re: praying to god

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:09 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: praying to god

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:34 pm

Praying to God and not believing is not all that original. After all, Unitarian Universalism is full of agnostic Christians, and agnostic (wrt rebirth) Buddhists for that matter.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: praying to god

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:49 pm


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Re: praying to god

Postby sattva » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:58 pm


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Re: praying to god

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:06 am

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


befriend
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Re: praying to god

Postby befriend » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:25 am

i really enjoy praying, sometimes its actually not to god at all, sometimes i pray to just SEND it out there and talk to the universe and sense positivity to other being. i sense the god part is a form of sensual craving as i do it solely for the purpose of pleasure, although im sure its good for my immune system and such. sometimes its nice to just put my hands together in prayer and talk to the universe or i dont know what, i think a big part of doing this is the mudra of putting my hands in that posture, it might possibly effect the meridians in my arms and sooth my mind.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Re: praying to god

Postby zavk » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:45 am

Hi befriend

I think at the end of the day, it is not for anyone to say whether the act of praying is beneficial for you or not. It's not as if there is some way for us to measure and evaluate your spiritual growth. What we could do, however, is talk through your intentions for performing the act of prayer and clarify them with what we currently understand about Buddhist ideals. This does not give us the means to ascertain, in any objective way, the consequences of your praying. Whatever your prayer leads to, who knows? I'd happily be the first to admit that I don't.

On that note, based on what I understand of the Dhamma together with other modes of understanding I'm interested in, while I don't engage in the act of prayer as you describe it, IF I were to pray as you do I would choose not to imagine that there is someone on the receiving end of the prayer. For a prayer to be a prayer, I'd say that it has to accept the impossibility of knowing who or what one is praying to, regardless of whether one is expressing gratitude, confiding some secret, articulating goodwill, etc.

:anjali: :smile:
With metta,
zavk

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Re: praying to god

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:30 am

I was thinking about this a bit today and thought I'd share my own thoughts on it.

While I do not pray in the sense of directing my recited words or thoughts to a deity or saint, I do read and verbally recite (when not intrusive to others) a series of reminders, which starts with an affirmation of refuge and the five precepts and includes a series of statements which, if heard or read out of context, might constitute "prayer" but are more or less meant for internal development; particularly towards remembering those areas in which I require daily improvement. While some of these recitations appear, upon some investigation, to come from Mahayana or Tibetan sources, that doesn't seem to invalidate the concepts of enhancing compassion for other beings or understanding of the impermanence of life, so I maintain them in my routine until I find reason to evict them.

So I do not "pray" in the sense that I believe an all-knowing being can actually hear it, or, that if one might, it would be inclined to do anything about me or anything else. As it pertains to a creator or "prime mover" in the universe, I am inclined to call myself agnostic. I am unable to use any evidence to confirm or deny the existence of such an entity. I also think that, if the existence of a creator were relevent to our existence, it would have made it known to us all in a very obvious way. I think this is the biggest failing of every theism I have ever read about -- none satisfy my question of why it refused to make itself more obvious.

But, do I "pray?" Out of context, one might say I do, but in context one might see that the focus object is in my mind and the power to do the work of changing my mind is from within, not without.
Hickersonia
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Re: praying to god

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:10 am


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Re: praying to god

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:39 pm

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: praying to god

Postby perkele » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:48 am

Hello, I find this thread interesting, because I had similar experiences. Even if it's maybe not so topical anymore, I'd like to share my thoughts.
When I was younger at some times the thought of "God" or similar came up. I say "or similar", because that was mostly just a thought, for a moment, then checking, thinking, looking: :shrug: Maybe, who knows?
The reason for that thought to come up was always gratitude, just pure gratitude. Who was there to thank for? I think it was a good thing. And I kept looking, what that really is, what that really means, when this came up. Checking my thoughts, what am I making up in my head? - sometimes getting a bit critical with my infatuated thinking. But then usually, not bothering much, just continuing to feel happy about whatever I felt so happy about in the moment and not thinking much about it anymore, just feeling grateful towards whoever, towards whatever. That's how it was most of the time, roughly.
I think it's good to just look at it, to just appreciate it and go along with it, without making anything up, just keeping a clear perspective and developing it. Your experience is your experience. And the best thing to do with it is usually to just experience it as mindfully as possible. Mindfulness is always helpful. So said the Buddha. And there is nothing in the world that is as helpful as understanding just that, even only for a moment. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to think about that.
:anjali:


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