Effective Prayer

Yutang Lin

Effects of prayers vary from person to person;
Hence some said that Bodhisattvas are unfair.
Inspirations are rooted only in universal mind;
Endeavoring to be selfless will gain responses.


Some Buddhist realized that his prayers are much less effective than those prayed through practitioners, and so he complained that Bodhisattvas are unfair. In fact, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are constantly transmitting blessings equally to all sentient beings. The reason that practitioners?prayers are usually more effective is as follows: Buddhist practitioners have renounced worldly entanglements and devoted themselves whole-heartedly to the endeavor of helping all sentient beings to realize enlightenment. Consequently, their intentions are more in accord with the truth that "all are in limitless oneness." Thus their prayers become naturally in harmony with all and would readily inspire supernatural responses. While a practitioner is praying on behalf of some particular sentient being there is no personal considerations involved, and therefore his state of mind remains essentially no different from when praying for all sentient beings and is enormously far-reaching and powerful. Ordinary people are still within the cocoon of multi-layer threads of personal karmic debts and favors, and their wishes are mostly shaped by worldly considerations of personal gains and losses, therefore, what they offer as prayers are indeed just expressions of personal goals. Compassionate Bodhisattvas aim at helping beings to attain enlightenment but not to fall back again into the karmic trap of self-centeredness, therefore, they could not grant blessings to such prayers. Once this point is understood a Buddhist should not complain again; instead he should endeavor to practice in the light of universal compassion in daily life so that gradually he will achieve inspirational correspondence with Buddhas.

Written in Chinese on October 27, 2001
Translated on November 2, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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