Prayer in Buddhism
by G.R. Lewis
(BFF Senior Teacher & Founder)
be part of our spiritual journey, transforming confusion into clarity and suffering into joy.
However, some mistakenly believe that the Absolute is separate and/or different from us. Believing this, their prayers
ask for favors, such as health, salvation, fame, victory or the winning lottery numbers.
They use prayer in order to manipulate their God to work for their benefit. Wanting Him to play favorites, they beg
to be blessed by Him at the expense of others. However, this attitude defeats the power of prayer. We believe that in order for prayer to be effective it must be devoid of any self-centeredness and calculation,
relying strictly on great compassion. It should be done to strengthen and open our hearts, and to benefit all beings. Buddhist
prayer has nothing to do with begging for personal worldly or heavenly gains.
Buddhist prayer is a practice to awaken our inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion
and wisdom rather than to petition external forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly gain. Buddhist prayer
is a form of meditation; it is a practice of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative with the virtuous
and points us to the blessings of Life.
Shin Buddhists, prayer expresses an aspiration to pull something into one's life, like some new energy or purifying influence
and share it with all beings. Likewise, prayer inspires our hearts towards wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves. It allows us to turn our hearts and minds to the beneficial, rousing our thoughts
and actions towards Awakening.
If we believe in something enough, it will take hold of
us. In other words, believing in it, we will become what we believe. Our ability to be touched like this is evidence of the
working of Great Compassion within us.
more, it can a function as a form of self-talking or self-therapy in which one mentally talks through a problem, or talks
through it aloud, in the hope that some new insight will come or a better decision can be made. Prayer therefore frequently
has the function of being part of a decision-making process.
Everywhere and Anytime
wonderful thing about prayer practice is that we can do it everywhere and anytime, transforming the ordinary and mundane into
the Path of Awakening. Prayer enriches our lives with deep spiritual connection and makes every moment special, manifesting
Land here and now.
Below is an example of our most popular prayer adapted from Shantideva's 8th century
Indian prayer, called the Metta Karuna Prayer.
Metta Karuna Prayer
Oneness of Life and Light,
Entrusting in your Great Compassion,
you shed the foolishness in myself,
Transforming me into a conduit of Love.
May I be a medicine for the sick and weary,
their afflictions until they are cured;
May I become food and drink,
During time of famine,
I protect the helpless and the poor,
May I be a lamp,
For those who need your Light,
I be a bed for those who need rest,
and guide all seekers to the Other Shore.
May all find happiness through my actions,
let no one suffer because of me.
Whether they love or hate me,
Whether they hurt or wrong me,
May they all realize
Through Other Power,
and realize Supreme Nirvana.
Namo Amida Buddha
are other examples of Shin Buddhist prayers.
Universal Love Aspiration
Through the working of Great
in their hearts,
May all beings have
and the causes of
May all be free from sorrow
and the causes of
May all never be separated
sacred happiness, which is
And may all live in equanimity,
Without too much attachment
and too much aversion;
live believing in the equality of
that lives. Namo Amida Buddha
Daily Affirmation Prayer
Calling out the Buddha-name,
I shall pass through the
journey of life with strength and joy.
Revering the Light of Buddha,
Reflecting upon my imperfect
I shall proceed to live a
life of gratitude.
Following the Teachings of
Listening to the Right Path,
I shall share the True Dharma
Rejoicing in the compassion
Respecting and aiding all
I shall work towards the
welfare of society and the world.
Namo Amida Buddha.
Golden Chain Prayer
We are a link in Amida's
of love that stretches around
We will keep our link bright
We will be kind and gentle
to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than ourselves.
We will think pure and beautiful
say pure and beautiful words,
and do pure
and beautiful deeds.
May every link in Amida's
chain of love be bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace. Namo Amida Buddha.