DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- PEOPLE WHO
- KNOW HOW TO PRAY
By Nhat Quan
One day, a
Buddhist called the temple to ask me to take care of her
mother's funeral because the doctor said there was no cure.
After a while, she hung up the phone, she called back to say
her mother was too tired to bear it and asked us to consider a
good day to let her mother go. Hearing that, I said:
- I can see if
it's a good day, but I don't know if she will leave or not,
long or fast.
- My mother is
exhausted, please Master pray that my mother will die
immediately so that she will not suffer physical pain.
I laughed and
- If the
doctor can not cure the patient, he or she can only suggest
that the family withdraw the means of supporting the patient's
life. No Doctor has ever suggested injecting drugs to kill a
dying patient, let alone me, as a teacher who can only pray
when someone is already dead, but never pray for death while
someone is still alive living.
dialogue, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about
the topic: People who know how to pray.
prayer, under the principle of a cultivator, there are two
types of religion: popular religion and true religion.
religion often takes many forms to satisfy the curiosity of
the ignorant crowd. Like praying, or asking a superior for
something. The believer's job is to focus only on begging
prayer. For the masses, this type of religion is just praying,
begging, offering sacrifices, a form of exchange such as
making offerings on some items and then asking for some favors
such as peace of mind, family security, business prosperity,
material development, money, health...etc...
only requirements of true religion are: chanting sutras,
reciting the Buddha's name, and sitting in meditation, to
correct oneself. Because chanting, reciting Buddha's name, and
sitting in meditation is both the key and the door that opens
all the vast doors of Spirituality. If there is prayer, then
prayer is only an expression of gratitude and thanks to the
Buddhas. No begging or wishing for anything.
So if you want
to approach true religion, the prerequisite is that you have
to step out of the mass religious consciousness. You must be
brave, overcoming all the ordinary obstacles to enter the gate
of true religion. Only then, until then, will you know who you
are and who the Buddha is.
More than 800
years ago, Shinran Shonin appeared in Japan to promote the
Jodo Shinshu or True Pure Land Way and the basic, and closest,
teachings that Shinran Shonin taught his followers:
- Reciting the
Buddha's name is to express gratitude to the Buddhas only!
that, doesn't ask for anything else. Because the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas are above, everywhere in the universe, so they
already know what your heart needs and wants. So you don't
need to express in vulgar words, heavy desires, complicated
demands, and lengthy requests
you think, how you act, and how you speak are all watched and
observed by your angels and protectors! So if you have a
prayer, you should not waste your time telling a long story,
or confessing your feelings. And don't pray so long, because
it won't help you at all. Because such a prayer is an
exchange, almost a trade, with the gods, with Buddhas and
And if you let
greed run rampant all over your lips, it's playing a language
game with the Group of Gods, with the Almighty, not with
prayer. The best way is to look at what the Buddha and
Bodhisattvas have done for you. That's how they have shown you
the source of sublime teachings for you to practice, then life
is happy. They have given you a tremendous sensitivity to
beauty. They have given you awareness. They have given you the
possibility to become a Buddha. So you don't want anything
and then prayer has wings, they can soar, and reach the
ultimate. However, there are also many people who pray with
the attitude of:
- Pray only
when they need something or to ask God for something!
ask for anything. Begging for anything that goes wrong!
Because the Buddha, the Bodhisattvas have already given you
everything, you just accept it by reciting the Buddha: Namo
Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine Master, that's
for everything they've done. Let's bow our heads! With five
parts of the body close to the ground and pay respects
sincerely and gratefully. In gratitude, only the heart is
needed, so words are not used, because it is useless. Bow in
deep gratitude, in silence. Prayer really shouldn't be
expressed in words; for words are not as suitable as prayer.
Language is intended for all other things of commerce, except
prayer. You just keep silent, or recite the Buddha's name
because reciting the Buddha's name is the most wonderful
prayer! And you will be amazed, when the light of wisdom
begins to open your mind, wisdom will cover your life. At that
time you are bathed in the sea of merit, in divine and sublime
with greed and delusion is no different from begging,
entrusting your destiny to the grace of a supernatural being.
But, praying according to the Buddha's wisdom is not at all
like that. The person who prays must have complete
self-control and must understand the law of cause and effect,
and it is important to practice good and evil in order to
transform their own karma. In other words, prayer is only for
the purpose of lighting up the lamp of awakening in the mind,
thereby helping you to pray for self-sublimation, transforming
your body and mind in a positive direction to be peaceful in
In fact, there
are no Buddhas or Bodhisattvas to bless anyone. And it's even
more wrong if someone thinks that you live against the rules
and then pray and make offerings to the Buddha so that you can
avoid the consequences!
The essence of
prayer is that there is nothing wrong with it, but people
often abuse it too much into cheap games for profit. The true
nature of prayer is therefore a method of looking back at your
true self, observing your mind, and eliminating worldly
desires, selfishness, dependence, and weakness.
Prayer is a
way of centering, intending to transform your heart, the heart
of others. In other words, Prayer is the process of giving
rise to the highest state, which is your Buddha nature. A
potential that everyone possesses equally. Buddha's nature is
the fundamental energy of life and love inherent in the
universe. Prayer is the process of transforming selfish
impulses into selfless love.
means eliminating the ego, until the ego becomes pure, to
achieve spiritual attainment and merge with the true self.
That is the purpose of those who know how to cultivate and
practice properly, it is the prayer that the venerable ones
teach. To be honest, Buddhism has absolutely none of the
styles or concepts of prayer like other religions. From the
day I came to know the Buddha's way of liberation, I have
heard teachers teach prayer, through which usually Buddhist
monks or laypeople practice repentance and make great vows.
repentance, that is, expressing past mistakes. Then generating
bodhicitta, ie making a great vow to save sentient beings, is
called genuine prayer.
when seeing and hearing animals being tortured, starved, or
oppressed, Buddhists make the following vows:
today, in front of the Buddhas, Dharma Venerables, and Saint
Sangha in the ten directions, please bear witness with great
- From now on
until the day of enlightenment, we vow to support, protect,
and protect all immeasurable and boundless sentient beings. We
open mercy, love, closeness, and sharing to all animals. If
there are sentient beings who are oppressed, forced,
imprisoned, or starved, we vow to save, care for, cherish, and
make those sentient beings safe and happy.
May the ten
directions, together with the end of space, all the Three
Jewels prove to us. After making the great vows, we, with our
five parts of the body bow down to the ground, bow to the
example, if you want to quit a profession that you consider
dishonest, make a vow:
today, in front of the Buddhas, Dharma, sages, and Sanghas in
the ten directions, please bear witness to me, with great
compassion, I am vowing from now to the very end of the future
time boundaries definitely do not do this unscrupulous
profession, and decide to propagate the Buddhadharma, making
the true Dharma last for a long time.
I vow to give
up my life, my property, and my honor to revive the
Buddhadharma, to make the lamp of the Dharma shine brighter
and brighter, not to be dimmed, and to let sentient beings
enjoy the endless bliss of the Dharma.
prayer of a Buddhist who knows how to practice and who can
only act like that, that is, express their feelings and then
make a great vow to save sentient beings. If you can do that,
the good gods always follow and support, no need to beg or ask
for anything. When you practice sincerely, you are known by
the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and protected by the Dharma
protectors. According to the Venerable Thien Tam telling the
- Once upon a
time, there was a certain Zen master who practiced very
diligently, determined to realize enlightenment in this life,
so he gave up his position as the abbot of a famous big temple
in the city without regret. Alone, he groped up the craggy
towering mountains, looking for a hidden cave to practice.
In addition to
eating a meager meal each day, consisting of boiled wild
vegetables and a handful of broken rice, he devoted all his
time to meditating diligently according to the first line
taught by the patriarch. But after practicing rigorously for
so many years, he still felt that he had not made much
progress, because every time he meditated, he often fell
asleep, so the results were not satisfactory. He devised a
perfect remedy for his sleeping sickness.
So the next
day, he went to the side of the mountain, climbed a cliff next
to the mouth of the deep abyss, and matured in meditation.
Knowing that, if he were to fall asleep for a moment, he would
fall into the abyss and would be instantly dismembered.
Because he had to deal with death that would happen at any
time, he did not dare to fall asleep like before, always
awake, trying to master his meditation practice.
For the first
few days, he felt he could bear it, but after a few months he
began to get tired: His health seemed to be drained and his
muscles were exhausted. Day by day, he became more and more
tired and lethargic, so much so that one day he fell asleep
without realizing it. And of course, this ascetic fell into
the abyss, with amazing speed. Anyway, this practice, still
helps the monk to stay awake to know that he is about to die.
The Master then closed his eyes, single-mindedly remembered
the Buddha, and prayed to be reborn in a good realm for easy
practice in the next life.
strange event happened: The monk found his body suspended in
mid-air. It seemed that a very large hand was slowly lifting
the monk's body onto the ledge. Howling because he had escaped
death, he found himself sitting on the rock as before, looking
down at the bottom of the black abyss. The Master asked
- Why don't I
die? Or is there a god to save me?
voice resounded in the solitude of the mountains:
- Yes. I just
saved you, no one else!
- Who are you?
same voice rang out:
- I am the
Dharma Protector, with the great vow to protect all true
practitioners in this world.
- Why did the
Dharma Protector save me?
- Because I
see you practice very diligently, so follow to help and
protect. Always by your side all this time, and you don't even
The Zen master
was so happy, he happily started a conversation:
- You are the
Dharma Protector, you must have traveled many times around
this Jambudvida or the Saha world, right?
though hidden in the sky, still answered loudly:
- Yes. I
regularly travel everywhere in this Saha world and have met
countless genuine monastics who are now striving to practice
diligently to quickly attain full liberation.
The Zen master
was both delighted and proudly asked:
- So, did the
Dharma Protector ever meet someone with great temperament,
good study skills, and diligent effort like me?
- Much. There
are many diligent practitioners like you. Countless tell. But
those who are better than you are also many times more, as
much as the sand of the Ganges.
- Yes. I dare
not lie. But I also say goodbye to you forever. I would like
to inform you in advance that, from today, I no longer follow
and support you as before!
The monk was
- Why did the
Dharma Protector abandon me like that? Can Dharma Protector
tell me why?
Protector smiled faintly:
- No reason at
all. You have let go of your arrogant and conceited words, so
the merit of practicing for so long has been dissipated, there
is nothing left.
If you've read
and recited the sutras, it's clear: The biggest obstacle for a
cultivator is the Self. Once the ego swells, the more
difficult it will be for the spiritual career. At the same
time, that Self will destroy all the merit that you have
accumulated so far. Meanwhile, humility is the first step for
those who fervently seek bodhicitta. The more arrogant a
practitioner is, the more difficult it is for a practitioner
to realize, and it can be said that anyone who shows even a
little bit of pride and arrogance will not only not be able to
realize enlightenment, but conversely, you will always be
locked in a circle stupidity, ignorance, and delusion.
Therefore, I can no longer follow and protect a person with
low morals like you!
and forests were deserted and silent again.
It seems that
the dharma protector has really disappeared, so the Zen master
can no longer hear the voice echoing through the void. Only
the rustling sound of the wind around the sharp rocky outcrops
The Zen master
expressed great regret because he couldn't control himself
while he was happy, so he uttered words that were too
arrogant, causing the merit of his practice to be washed away
by the water of ignorance.
down his bony cheeks, the Zen master shivered, quickly folded
his hands, and bowed his head:
Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine Master, let me
repent for the mistakes of this life as well as the endless
past lives. Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine
Master, Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine
In a rush of
emotion, he recited Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life
Medicine Master non-stop. Moments later, suddenly feeling
sorry for himself for having lost so many merits and virtues
in his practice, his heart suddenly vibrated wildly and he
repeatedly recited Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life
Medicine Master. Finally, the Master lamented:
- Well, that's
it. It's my fault that I'm too complacent, so the Dharma
Protector isn't as supportive as before, but I have to
practice anyway. So Zen Master continued to work diligently as
before. Still patiently sitting next to the mountain to focus
on meditation, determined not to back down.
Then one day,
too tired, he fell into the cliff again.
Master is sure that the Dharma Protector is no longer around
to save him in time from danger. He kept his mind mindful to
hope to be reborn in the Buddhist lineage. This is the point
of view of those who know how to cultivate and practice at the
time of death, who know well the importance of how to keep
their mind in mindfulness. For the purpose of being reborn in
a family with Buddhist beliefs, or born in countries where the
Buddha appeared, eligible to practice Buddhism.
But this time
more surprisingly, Zen Master still found himself being
carried by a giant hand up to his seat on the rock. Terrified,
because the event happened beyond his imagination, the Master
- Who saved
voice spoke again.
- I am the
- Well, you
said that from now on, you won't follow me anymore
voice from the sky echoes:
Exactly. I am the Dharma Protector here! Previously, I decided
to abandon you just because your arrogance has destroyed all
your inherent spiritual virtues. But in the time after that,
you recited Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine
Master continuously and repented like that, so I support you
again as before.
- Just for
- Yes. The
title Namo Quelling Disasters Lengthening Life Medicine Master
has the most wondrous and wondrous power, not only to wash
away his sins in countless past lives but also to manifest all
the inconceivable merits of all Buddhas of the ten directions.
Therefore, I volunteered to follow you forever, to create all
favorable conditions for practice, from now until you are
liberated and realized.
In short, the
essence of prayer is that there is nothing wrong with it, but
do not abuse it too much into cheap games for profit. Because
prayer is a method of looking back at your true self,
observing your mind, and eliminating worldly desires,
selfishness, dependence, weakness, or pride. Through the above
story, you can see that the Zen Master was so complacent that
he was no longer supported by the Dharma Protector. But when
the Master knew how to repent and recite the Medicine Buddha's
prayer, the Dharma Protector returned to protect him. Thus,
reciting the Buddha's name and praying especially the Medicine
Buddha's name, is a way of concentration and intention to
transform your mind and the hearts of others. Or to put it
another way, prayer is the process of giving rise to the
highest state of your Buddha nature. A potential that everyone
possesses equally. Buddha's nature is the fundamental life
energy and love inherent in the universe. Prayer is the
process of transforming selfish impulses into selfless love.
Prayer also means to eliminate the ego, until the ego becomes
pure, to achieve spiritual attainment, and to merge with the
know that when you start to think, when you recite a single
thought of truth and goodness, the Buddhas will protect you,
and the gods will support you. When you generate a bad thought
that has just arisen, ghosts and karma will follow. So when
you pray, you don't have to be long. Because of what your mind
wants, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of Goodwill know it all.
And as a person who knows how to cultivate and practice when
speaking, you should be very careful when opening your mouth,
if your thoughts think of fame and gain, it is creating more
false karma, immediately causing good gods, and Bodhisattvas
to be shunned.
So you need to
understand clearly, in this day and age, people are in a crazy
situation, turning crazy before the world is going crazy, you
just need to keep your mind so true, and act so righteously
clearly. Having a day's time is a good day's work. But in the
good, the most beautiful, the most outstanding is the work of
spreading the Dharma to benefit sentient beings.
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