Tag Archives: Hindu gods

Prayer, At Best, Is But A Form Of “Brain Meditation” — And That Is Good.

by Anura Guruge


prayermediat


THINK about what I just said up there (↑).

Prayer, irrespective of who you pray to (and as such its religious connotation), focuses your brain, and thereby ‘centers you’, for a brief period of time. That is MAGIC. Just that short burst of focus is a form of “Brain Meditation“.

So the reason that so many feel GOOD about praying — and do so immediately afterwards — is because they have just indulged in some “Brain Meditation“.

You can achieve the same succor by just doing any other form of “Brain Meditation“.


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Click to ENLARGE and read this snippet here. Use link below to access original.

Click here to access the “Catholic News Service” original.


As those of you who know me know, I do NOT pray. I do NOT believe in prayer. I think that praying is a superstitious waste of time.

And this from one whose adoptive mother was considered by many, including lots of Western Christians, to possess SUPERNATURAL PRAYING POWERS!

Yep, my adoptive mother, in her latter years, was like a walking-talking ‘Lourdes’. People came to her, often bearing lavish gifts (mainly in the form of expensive chocolates, flowers or pastries), asking her to PRAY on their behalf. I still vividly remember a Director General of UNESCO, a very elegant (and personable) Spaniard, and his wife, coming to visit so that they could ask my mother to PRAY that their son, who was sitting an exam in a few days in order to qualify as a doctor, would do well in the exam. My mother prayed with them and continued to do so afterwards on their behalf. She prayed, unashamedly, to an eclectical pantheon of deities — at least one of them a then living human (Sai Baba). Though she would be mightily offended IF anybody said she was anything but the MOST devout of Buddhists, she when it came to praying, prayed to anyone and anybody that she believed could intercede.

She prayed to the Abrahamic God. She always had a supply of genuine Lourdes Water (which wasn’t that difficult for her given that she lived in Paris (France) and as the extremely indulged wife of a rather rich Ambassador (with multiple pensions) had the resources and contacts to get most things she wanted). She prayed to Hindu gods. She was huge Sai Baba fan who gave Sai Baba a LOT of money over the years.

She believed in prayer. She prayed a LOT. She prayed for me BUT that never worked. Maybe that is when I started to question prayer.

[And there are people, a Catholic bishop here and there and definitely a few Catholic priests, who still pray that I will find my way … ]

To me the pope praying AFTER an earthquake is just STUPID. He should have been praying BEFORE to avoid it from happening.

And PLEASE do not give me grief that you can’t pray to God to micro-manage and intercede. IF so, why the heck was the Pope leading 11,000 in prayer yesterday. Give me a break.

But, as you also know I do not interfere or object to the religious beliefs of others — even if they are totally contrary to what I believe in (which is NOTHING). So I am happy that people pray. They are indulging in some “Brain Meditation” and that is GOOD. I am all in favor. 


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by Anura Guruge

President Obama, In Thailand, Unintentionally Propagates Misnomer About Buddhist Prayer.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Click to access the U.K. ‘Daily Mail’ article replete with three colour pictures.


Prayer means many things to many people, and to many it is a very personal and reverential facet of their life. You could tell that the President, always politic even when making a joke, was very careful about how he ‘worded it’ and then referred to it as ‘good vibes’ when talking to journalist. Given that his true faith is often questioned, the last thing the President wanted, so soon after his resounding reelection, was for the ‘birthers‘ to start claiming that he was now a Buddhist! The current pope, Benedict XVI (#266), is definitely not a fan of non-Christain prayer.

We need to tread very carefully when it comes to Buddhism and prayer to avoid unwarranted misconceptions.

It is also important to make a distinction as to the meaning and significance of prayer. To many, prayer involves asking for intervention of some sort, typically in the form of a beneficial favor. In this case, the President, when talking of prayer, was referring to a beneficial outcome in the U.S. Fiscal Cliff talks.

So, this is why you need to be careful when you bring up prayer and Buddhism in the context of ‘I need a favor‘ type prayers.

Simply put in Buddhism per se there is really no one that can really grant anyone, even the President of the U.S., with beneficial favors!

Yes, of course, Buddhist pray. That is beyond doubt or debate. My mother who was a devout Buddhist prayed incessantly and was known for having a never ending supply of Holy Water from Lourdes and Holy Ash from Sai Baba!

Though some will argue, Buddha was not a god, and definitely not ‘God’ with a capital ‘G’. Buddha was very specific about that. Though he was not fond of discussing how we came to be, he was always adamant that he was not ‘God the Creator’. So, Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama Buddha to be specific, was not God.

The Buddha per his own was to reach the state of ‘Nirvana‘ when he died (over 2,400 years ago). Nirvana is the cessation of existence. So other than his teachings and some relics nothing of the Buddha per se exists. There is definitely no ‘soul’, ‘being’, ‘persona’, ‘spirit’ or ‘essence’ of the Buddha floating around here, there or in heaven. That would be totally against his much beloved noting of ‘Nirvana’. So, this means, that while you obviously can’t stop people doing so, it is kind of futile praying to Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. He by his own claim ceased to exist in any tangible form. So, that is, to me, the most fundamental issue when it comes to Buddhism and prayer. You cannot equate Buddha to the Abrahamic God. You might want to, but it just does not make sense.

Yes, Buddhism does embrace the notion of ‘non-human’ entities called ‘Devas’. Yes, of course, you can pray to them, and Buddhist do. But, per the teachings these Devas have limited powers and are definitely not supposed to grant favors — even if they had the power to do so!

In reality, many Buddhist, my family among them, pray most often to the Hindu gods. Buddha was born an Hindu and the two religions acknowledge each other. All Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka (where I come from) have shrines for two or more Hindu gods. In Sri Lanka it is a seamless, symbiotic relationships. Buddhists pray to the Hindu gods. But, to me there is a distinction. That is not Buddhist prayer. That is Hindu prayer.

Yes, ‘Buddhist prayer’ in the form of a kind of meditation is favored by some. But, that is prayer without asking for something. So it is different; very different to some.

So, I just wanted to make sure that my President was not misleading all.


As it happened, this June, in Boston, I actually interviewed my father about ‘Buddhist prayer’, on video, he being a noted, mightily published Buddhist scholar.

Click to access the video interview on ‘YouTube’. The section on prayer starts at around the 10:21 minute mark.