Prayers vs. Help

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Könchok Thrinley
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Prayers vs. Help

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Hey,

I am currently mulling over the topic of what is actually better: praying for the benefit of beings or actually going out and helping?

Little background for my question. Right now I am in a state where I am basically unemployed, looking for job and not sure whether I will be able to pay my rent or groceries in the following months. When my friend told me she is going to drive people to work as part of her volunteering I was bit glad, but also realized that I can't take part in such activities and frankly don't want to endanger myself more than needed given my zero social security (if i come down sick there is basically noone to take care of me, shop for me, pay my rent, etc). I told myself it will be better if I pray and practice for the benefit of the sick, dead, dying, hurting and others in the world. How much is this just me trying to soothe my conscience and how much does it actually benefit?

Sorry might be having a small crisis of faith. I know my practice helps me, especially when I use the little right motivation I have, but I am having doubts when concerning others.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
tkp67
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by tkp67 »

From a simple pragmatic perspective helping others can be a gateway to opportunity and also keeps one from ruminating on current misfortune in one's own life.

I have a very hard time creating opportunity and overcoming obstacles when I am in a negative headspace.

I hope things work out for you and the difficulties just a fleeting experience.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

“Praying for” can be regarded in two ways.
There is a view that you are sending out some kind of positive energy vibes or whatever you want to call it.
Not everyone subscribed to that view.

However, “praying for” in another sense means establishing a good motivation, and this is important. You may not be able to help anyone today by any obvious means. But, by establishing the motivation through the action of wishing that all beings be free from suffering and so on, you develop what you might call a ‘guiding principle’ within your own mind, and this development in turn will both lead you to opportunities where you can benefit others, and will help you to develop the wisdom and skillful means a little by little, so that when opportunities arise, your actions will truly be helpful.

Also, because all phenomena arise in relation to all other phenomena, right now for example, you might save someone’s life simply by washing your hands and not spreading Covid19. In other words, doing some small thing can cause a big ripple effect. Don’t just think that because you aren’t donating lots of time and energy to some specific activity that your actions have no effect on others.

You can pray for conditions and events to change.
But generally, buddhas and bodhisattvas don’t fix things for people (although “praying” or wishing for the removal of obstacles can be effective).
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Könchok Thrinley wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:43 pm Hey,

I am currently mulling over the topic of what is actually better: praying for the benefit of beings or actually going out and helping?

Little background for my question. Right now I am in a state where I am basically unemployed, looking for job and not sure whether I will be able to pay my rent or groceries in the following months. When my friend told me she is going to drive people to work as part of her volunteering I was bit glad, but also realized that I can't take part in such activities and frankly don't want to endanger myself more than needed given my zero social security (if i come down sick there is basically noone to take care of me, shop for me, pay my rent, etc). I told myself it will be better if I pray and practice for the benefit of the sick, dead, dying, hurting and others in the world. How much is this just me trying to soothe my conscience and how much does it actually benefit?
...
A couple of thoughts ...
Does it have to be either/or or can it be both/and?
If we have no money, we can still give time. Often, in fact, it's all we can give.
If giving time to people IRL is not possible or not safe (COVID?) then there are ways we can give time online, from the very low-level stuff like sharing positive messages on social media up to running websites for NGO's. (But it's still better for us, as tpk67 said, if we can get out into the real world.)

:namaste:
Kim
DharmaN00b
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by DharmaN00b »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:54 pm

However, “praying for” in another sense means establishing a good motivation, and this is important. /
Aha, it's sometimes wish fulfillment that motivates me to help. Ill use other things as an excuse to help.

So, perhaps it's not necessarily VS but more transformative, so the wish and outcome are married in an auspicious manner.
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Ayu
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by Ayu »

I think, the question 'either/or' is not necessary.
It's okay, if you don't want to help in a physical way, if that work is likely to endanger your own health.

If you can't keep distancing in that helping work, you are endangering the health of others as well. For me this is an important point. We can't overcome covid-19 by ignoring.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
Soma999
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Re: Prayers vs. Help

Post by Soma999 »

Praying for others or having selfless motivation certainly will benefits you.

Visualise your Yidam and pray « may all beings be in good health. May they have food and home. May the be safe ». Put the « i » out of the equation, still you are included.

That transforms your energy and vibration and will help you also.

Fear is a big thing. We can die at any time. Covid or not. Years ago i was crossing the street a car came full speed without even considering the red light. 2 seconds of difference i would be dead today.

Go in a graveyard, you will see people of all age who have died.

So, take care of yourself but realise total security is a myth.

The armor of boddicita protect you. Fear open the gates for bad stuff to come into your energy field.

Practice gratitude. Say thank you, for no reason. Say thank you if you have a reason. Say thank you for whatever good comes for other. Thank you, thank you, thank you... see the Buddha in front of you... thank you, thank you, thank you... his light fill you with blessings... thank you...

It will change your vibration, and see what will come.

Wish for yourself and all other suffering beings, all of us, the best. « May you be blessed ». Bless yourself.

Don’t let fear step into your being. Switch of the television. The world is turning completly crazy.

What you wish for other you will attract to yourself.

Offer mandala, do tong len, practice « vast offering » like what does lama Zopa...

There are a millions way to be generous. Sometime, a sincere smile is the greatest wealth.

Transform your heart in a wish granting wheel and see lights shining while you say over and over « may all beings awaken ».

In those time, we will have to be flexible. The world is being deeply transformed.

Don’t let fear fill you. Fear is worst than the covid.

If you want to know how to prepare some remedee which may help, look for chlorine dioxide (cds of Andreas Kalcher), or plant medicine (Black elderberry, look what says Stephen Harrod Buhmer...).

That being said, you can free yourself of fear and still use wisdom to see if something is appropriate. Sometime some things are to be avoided, sometime not.
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