Who do Buddhists pray to?

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Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:54 pm

I don't intend to open up a topic on Buddhism and the existence of God, but I'm confused about who Buddhists pray to. Do they pray to Sakyamuni? Amitabha? Avolekitesvara? Taras? Brahma?

How does this prayer differ from Judeo-Christian and Islamic prayer?
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby justsit » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:57 pm

Nice explanation of Buddhist prayer here.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Nosta » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:55 pm

Buddhists pray is something like to "tune on" with you some deitys (like a given Buddha), but since that ultimatly we are that same buddha-nature, in fact where tunned in with ourselves.

We pray for respect, devotion, for the clearance of mind and i suppose that praying for a specific thing may hel to change karma in a way that may induce such thing to happen. But thats my supposition, since i am just more of a "lay person" than a monk or something like.

To wich deities do we pray? It depends, we may pray to Amitabha, Avalokitsevara, etc, depending on our objectives. If we are in the need of physical hel (hunger, disease - needing for an heal -, etc) we may pray for example to the "Medicine Buddha".
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Ben Crowley » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:29 pm

That was a great read. I greatly appreciate it.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Mr. G » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:14 pm

Just recently came across this quote by Soga Ryojin in his work "The Core of Shinshu". Thought it was interesting and applied to this thread:

Help in Buddhism means that the
helping Dharma is fulfilled, that one is helped by the
Primal Vow, by the power of the Dharma of Namu Amida
Butsu
. It certainly does not mean that sentient beings are
helped directly by the Buddha. The Buddha does not help
anybody individually. He fulfills the Dharma whereby all
can make progress and then says: "From now on it is your
own responsibility whether you are helped or not....If
you want to be helped, rely on this Dharma teaching. It is
no longer my affair."
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Karma Yeshe » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:55 pm

I think that there is some difference between the Buddhist schools as to this topic...

As per the Teachings that I have gotten The Buddha Tara, Chenrezing etc used to be ordanary Beings who have gained Enlightenment or a very high level of Realization thru their own efforts. I pray directly to them for guide me along the path.
What Is...What Was...What Could be...What must never Be.
The Doctor

Something Old...Something New...Something Borrowed...Something Blue.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:35 am

Epistemes wrote:I don't intend to open up a topic on Buddhism and the existence of God, but I'm confused about who Buddhists pray to. Do they pray to Sakyamuni? Amitabha? Avolekitesvara? Taras? Brahma?

How does this prayer differ from Judeo-Christian and Islamic prayer?


We do not pray to Creator because no creater in buddhism.

When we pray, we pray to the teacher. Whether that teacher is Sakyamuni, or Amitable, or Tara.

So the relationship is teacher and student. Not god (the creator) and what he create.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby DarkRain » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:52 pm

Ah, this is one of the misconception of Buddhism. Disciples of the Buddha do not pray to anyone. When we kneel and bow, we pay respect, very much like a student to the Great Teacher. Also at the same time, it casts away one's ego and reminds oneself of humility. When one bow and kneel, we are also paying respect to "ourselves", our Buddha nature. Temples are not places of worship, they are places to learn and remind one of the teachings of the Buddha, very much like a school. Similarly, incense serves the same purpose of mindfulness, hence only one stick will do. Temples for the lay are also places to practise generosity and to gain merits (only if one is truly sincere and do not ask for anything in return). Sometimes, the bodhisattvas may have great compassion to provide us with a helping hand but ultimately this depends largely on our volition.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:22 pm

Prayer decreases self-cherishing no matter what you are so its a skillful technique to adopt.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby davidchatman » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:24 am

Buddhists don't pray to anyone. Buddhists chant and pray to gain insight and understand the Buddha nature that is in all sentient beings including themselves.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:18 am

Epistemes wrote:I don't intend to open up a topic on Buddhism and the existence of God, but I'm confused about who Buddhists pray to. Do they pray to Sakyamuni? Amitabha? Avolekitesvara? Taras? Brahma?

How does this prayer differ from Judeo-Christian and Islamic prayer?


The praying is more to the relationship between teacher and student.

From the ultimate point of view, we are same level.

But from relative ppoint of view, we are ignorant, teachers no longer ignorent.

So, we request his help and guidance.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby edearl » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:22 am

Thanks for the link, justsit.

:twothumbsup: everybody
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby LastLegend » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:11 am

What does pray mean?
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Quiet Heart » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:52 am

Epistemes wrote:I don't intend to open up a topic on Buddhism and the existence of God, but I'm confused about who Buddhists pray to. Do they pray to Sakyamuni? Amitabha? Avolekitesvara? Taras? Brahma?

How does this prayer differ from Judeo-Christian and Islamic prayer?

--------------------------------------
Having fun again are we Epistemes?
You know the answer to this, but I'll reply to it anyway.
Buddhists don't "pray" to anyone.
First of all Buddha wasn't a supernatural being, he was a human being, who was born and who dies as all humans do.
So there's no point in praying to him like a God.
Now some Buddhists do show respect by displaying admiration for the understanding and knowledge (don't know to express it more clearly than that clumsy string of words) achieved by those people you mentioned above.
But the point is: They don't pray to Buddha like a Christian prays to God.
Buddha isn't a God.

And that's the difference between the Buddhist and Judeo-Christian or Muslim prayer that's you asked about.

And just to clarify...to Moslems Mohamed is not a God either. He was a human also...the revered and purified one...whose heart was washed out..cleansed of sin and evil.
(tradionally by the Archangel Gabriel if I remember correctly...well known to many Christians)
It is Allah who is God, not Mohamed.
But I have to log out now.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:32 pm

Epistemes wrote:I don't intend to open up a topic on Buddhism and the existence of God, but I'm confused about who Buddhists pray to. Do they pray to Sakyamuni? Amitabha? Avolekitesvara? Taras? Brahma?

How does this prayer differ from Judeo-Christian and Islamic prayer?


It depends. In some traditions there's almost no prayer. In others, they ask for help to Bodhisattvas and other deities.
You could ask: but if those deities are there and are benevolent, enlightened, why the need to pray for help? Wouldn't that make them capricious somehow?
But this is not the correct way to look at it.
Let me use an analogy: imagine the sun, shinning with equanimity everywhere. When you pray, you don't move the sun. You move yourself from the shade to the light.
You recognize what was there already and benefit from it, the compassion and enlightened activity of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

For instance, take a look at this quote: "I am present in front of anyone who has faith in me , just as the moon casts its reflection,effortlessly, in any vessel filled with water". This is a good example of the point made above.

There are also mantras and then action mantras aimed to specific effects, but that's a different subject that has to do with tantric practices which involve creating a connection at the energy level with a certain deity.

None of the above said supersedes the empty nature of deities. They are not more or less real than you or me. However, that doesn't stop us from talking with each other. The fact that our selves only have conventional existence doesn't mean that we can't function. So it's the same. However, you can perceive me through what can be called your defiled vision. To perceive the sambhogakaya, you need to train your mind to a level you haven't yet reached, otherwise you wouldn't be asking, I suppose.
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Re: Who do Buddhists pray to?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:35 pm

you are all praying

to me

true

:smile:
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