Posted by Pat (126.96.36.199) on August 16, 2000 at 03:17:39:
In Reply to: Re: Prayer in Buddhism posted by Susan on August 15, 2000 at 11:16:54:
Thanks for getting back to me. I was somewhat curious as to why there was a dearth of responses to my questions in so active a forum. I did review the FAQs and all of the past postings as well as used the search engine. I only ask others as a last resort, preferring to do my own research whenever possible.
Keep in mind that I am a student of Buddhism, not a detractor. I suspect that the Catholic and Buddhist traditions and teachings are materially different in the matter of prayer.
In Catholicism one is said to be praying ("talking") to an actual person who listens and replies in some form or another. Buddhism maintains that there are "gods" but not a God i.e. the supreme being who is all powerful and the creator of the world. To whom or what then are Buddhists talking.
So far as I understand, in Buddhism prayer ("puja") is primarily a form of loving respect and veneration but not a matter of "talking to the supreme being." A Catholic can say, "Oh my God" or "Oh Christ help me" with the intent and purpose of speaking to a "someone" and expecting help or guidance ("grace") in reply. I don't think that is necessarily or exactly the case in Buddhism - which is the sort of thing I was trying to investigate.
I fully realize that Buddhists are not praying "to" statues of the Buddha, etc., (although I am sure there are some Buddhists who may think they are as there are certainly some Catholics who are under the mistaken impression that they pray "to" a statue, e.g., of the Blessed Virgin Mary). But the question remains as to the addressee and the sought for efficacy of the prayers in Buddhism. It's an interesting point I think.
Although it was very mild in your reply to my original question (which you alone were so kind to make in any case), there seemed to be some sort of tone or aniticpation that the question was based in bias or intended as a putdown of Buddhism - which was certainly not the case.
Your anticipation was not entirely misplaced in at least one sense however. One thing I have found in years of researching Protestantism's various sects, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, and now Buddhism, is that what they do most definitely all have in common is the fact that they all involve people. People of whatever faith have no patent on bias, on lack of understanding, on a failure to properly research, or on a quickness to comment disparagingly on another's religion. Dalai Lamas and St. Francis's of Assissi are very rare. The common run of people are just people and prey to the common errors and faults of people of every where and every time. It happens not only among Catholics but among Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims as well. That is so terribly unfortunate but still a commonplace.
Thank you once again for your kind reply.
P. L. Moore
: No one has put forth a reply to you and I am really not that much of an expert to be talking about this subject but just as you have your prayers, the Buddhist have theirs. Our high ceremonies are very similar to yours. This may surprise you but there were Catholic Prists that were in Tibet in the early 16th Century.
: We say prayers for the same reason you say yours, we go for refuge, we go for forgiveness and on and on. Regardless what faith you follow, you find that each has their own set of prayers, its not a big secret. Just as yours were once said in Latin nost of the Tibetan prayers are said in sandscript but since I am not very good at that, they can also be said in English and it one of the same.
: Buddhists aren't pagans, you know, its not the idol but the ideal that it stands for. I don't know if that helps you or not. Just one quick thing here, all faiths have prayers and they stand for spirituality and when they are said, then that creates energy forces within the channels and that is the connection between us. I'm sorry I am not saying this well. I was hoping someone would come on and tell us all as you asked a interesting question. You know there is a SEARCH screen on this site and perhaps someone has already asked and answered that question, check it out.
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