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Thai Buddhists pray? Why? To whom?


fang37

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I have observed Thais pray - particularly women.

Each night, they get into bed, kneel & do it.

Incidentally, I see Thai women, in the main, more at peace, less materialistic & sleep like babies.

Is there a correlation?

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Christians pray to an invisible God, as do Moslems.

What difference does it make what religeon you are as long as YOU believe and don't interfere with other religeons.

My wife and son rarely pray and they are nominally Buddhist.

As for me, I am am retired Christian yet every time I open a bottle of whisky I offer the first capful to the spirits of the land where we live as a token of thanks.

Would you call that praying? If so, what religeon would you call it?

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One possible explanation:

Since Buddhism has no creator God you might assume that the Buddhist tradition has no room for prayer. The Buddha wasn’t a God. So would be the point of praying to him, or of praying at all?

Some forms of Buddhist practice that look like prayer don’t in fact involve the Buddha or any other enlightened figure. When Buddhists are cultivating lovingkindness and they’re repeating phrases like “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy,” they’re not invoking any kind of outside agency. What they’re doing is strengthening their own desire to see beings flourish and be free from suffering. By repeating the thought, and the intention, “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy,” they’re exercising and strengthening the faculty of kindness. So while this may resemble prayer, there isn’t really any petition (asking a deity for benefits) going on.

... and more: http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/do-buddhists-pray

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Although I submitted this thread & have self-studied for numerous years, this thread has been very informative for me. You learn something every day.

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Christians pray to an invisible God, as do Moslems.

What difference does it make what religeon you are as long as YOU believe and don't interfere with other religeons.

My wife and son rarely pray and they are nominally Buddhist.

As for me, I am am retired Christian yet every time I open a bottle of whisky I offer the first capful to the spirits of the land where we live as a token of thanks.

Would you call that praying? If so, what religeon would you call it?

I think the point is that Christians, Muslims, etc. have a God albeit imaginery. Buddha was not a God, nor did he promote any Deity and suggest people pray to it.

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Christians pray to an invisible God, as do Moslems.

What difference does it make what religeon you are as long as YOU believe and don't interfere with other religeons.

My wife and son rarely pray and they are nominally Buddhist.

As for me, I am am retired Christian yet every time I open a bottle of whisky I offer the first capful to the spirits of the land where we live as a token of thanks.

Would you call that praying? If so, what religeon would you call it?

God bless this sainted man.

post-240734-0-93511600-1438849863_thumb.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

Prayer is in no way a Western concept, Hindu's pray for instance, and in Thailand they were practicing prayer long before Buddhism arrived. The truth is, prayer is an old fashioned concept, and one which the Buddha spoke against.

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Buddhism ostensibly has no god so it is confusing to know when one is praying- what does it mean? Syncretism has blended both animistic and Hindu/Vedanta aspects into local Buddhism. Hindu/Vedanta concepts allow, indeed recognize, that different people are in varying levels of development and do not forbid bhakti-devotion- to a figurehead en route to the place in development where, as Paul said, you realize milk is for babes and meat for men (this is why there were different forms of yoga IAW different dispositions). In this manner, while desire itself is sought to be ultimately eliminated, healthy desires initially and devotion serve to keep someone on the path.

But this is practically not Buddhism. Most will never realize that one day they can put away dolls. In this way prayer and deification of the Buddha and ancestors has made a home in modern T. Buddhism. When one continues to nurture illusion they will never turn from milk to meat. But consider this: perhaps they are not praying to deity at all rather they are simply praying. Most Buddhists will pray irrespective of visualizing deity. Many people pray daily and do so without identifying with a man in the clouds. This form of intention is wholesome and quite useful for those who believe in it. So, there are reasons why deity may have evolved into local Buddhism or they are fundamentally orthodox and simply praying.

Ask if you want to know. Anyone who prays would embrace the opportunity to discuss this. It serves to both validate our actions and seek wisdom from others. I cannot imagine someone would be put off by your intimate question. Not to someone who prays.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

Prayer is in no way a Western concept, Hindu's pray for instance, and in Thailand they were practicing prayer long before Buddhism arrived. The truth is, prayer is an old fashioned concept, and one which the Buddha spoke against.

Yes, prayer is more ancient than the divisions of the world. Prayer is the ultimate primordial expression of wonder, and fear.

I am managing these thoughts currently as I read Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (public domain). When the very wise and adept continue to use the imagery of deity why do they do so, I wonder? It seems even those who evolve to the point of really grasping that no concept of deity can be valid as the human mind, limited and restrained, cannot comprehend such a thing. Yet the Buddhist Yogins continue this either with Shakti or other imagery. I suppose the issue remains the human nature of devotion to ally intention and direction of prayers. Perhaps. But I fully enjoyed this post today. Thank you. Again, ask. I fully believe every person you ask would share with you the manner of their prayers, if not the content.

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"It serves to both validate our actions and seek wisdom from others."

If it's wisdom you seek, speak to an atheist.

Wisdom has many faces. While I do not believe in god, in the Western sense, I know way concede that atheists have the market on wisdom. In fact, on its face it is arrogant.

IMO, people generally are willing to discuss their inner musings, if they are those who are inclined to pray. I do not believe that if more people prayed the world would be a better place but if more people prayed generally, without a deity as their object, the world would be a better place. Perhaps we agree on this point? Prayer, in this manner, is little more than affirmation and intention.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

You do realise this is a light hearted forum and sometimes not meant to be looking for the meaning of life.As you get older hopefully you will become less of a deep thinker.As I was told when I first came here ( by many Thais ). You think too much then you get brain cancer( I am sure there are other natives who have been told the same).

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Christians pray to an invisible God, as do Moslems.

What difference does it make what religeon you are as long as YOU believe and don't interfere with other religeons.

My wife and son rarely pray and they are nominally Buddhist.

As for me, I am am retired Christian yet every time I open a bottle of whisky I offer the first capful to the spirits of the land where we live as a token of thanks.

Would you call that praying? If so, what religeon would you call it?

Um. A spiritualist religion?

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One possible explanation:

Since Buddhism has no creator God you might assume that the Buddhist tradition has no room for prayer. The Buddha wasn’t a God. So would be the point of praying to him, or of praying at all?

Some forms of Buddhist practice that look like prayer don’t in fact involve the Buddha or any other enlightened figure. When Buddhists are cultivating lovingkindness and they’re repeating phrases like “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy,” they’re not invoking any kind of outside agency. What they’re doing is strengthening their own desire to see beings flourish and be free from suffering. By repeating the thought, and the intention, “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy,” they’re exercising and strengthening the faculty of kindness. So while this may resemble prayer, there isn’t really any petition (asking a deity for benefits) going on.

... and more: http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/do-buddhists-pray

Theravada Buddhists are forbidden from petition through prayer, but that doesn't stop them, people regularly pray for things like good luck or money, just not to the Buddha. The inclusion of Hindu Deities within Buddhist temples are to provide place for petitionary prayers to be answered, for they know that the Buddha just isn't listening to that, but maybe the Lord Ganesha is! It has also been noted in Sri Lanka, that Buddhists will petition through prayer within Christian Churches in hope that the Christian God will answer their prayers! YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!

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Christians pray to an invisible God, as do Moslems.

What difference does it make what religeon you are as long as YOU believe and don't interfere with other religeons.

My wife and son rarely pray and they are nominally Buddhist.

As for me, I am am retired Christian yet every time I open a bottle of whisky I offer the first capful to the spirits of the land where we live as a token of thanks.

Would you call that praying? If so, what religeon would you call it?

I think the point is that Christians, Muslims, etc. have a God albeit imaginery. Buddha was not a God, nor did he promote any Deity and suggest people pray to it.

Spoken as a real European buddhist.

Now try to explain this to Thai buddhists.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

You do realise this is a light hearted forum and sometimes not meant to be looking for the meaning of life.As you get older hopefully you will become less of a deep thinker.As I was told when I first came here ( by many Thais ). You think too much then you get brain cancer( I am sure there are other natives who have been told the same).

Thanks, I guess I need another 47 years here to acquire any wisdom :)

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I have observed that, in the Nth, the Thais are very superstitious. In doing so, a little prayer seems appropriate - not hurting anyone.

The locals all think that the Buddha was born in Thailand. There has been only one exception.

I have sought literature from The Buddhist Educational Foundation (Taiwan). My MIL is enjoying the read.

So many up this way know very little about Buddhism let alone apply same. Even the local monks are short on knowledge.

My latest project is to form a library at the local wat for monks, adults & children.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

You do realise this is a light hearted forum and sometimes not meant to be looking for the meaning of life.As you get older hopefully you will become less of a deep thinker.As I was told when I first came here ( by many Thais ). You think too much then you get brain cancer( I am sure there are other natives who have been told the same).

But they are wrong, thinking deeply does not cause brain cancer, but not thinking deeply may well cause alzheimers disease!

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One possible explanation:

Since Buddhism has no creator God you might assume that the Buddhist tradition has no room for prayer. The Buddha wasnt a God. So would be the point of praying to him, or of praying at all?

Some forms of Buddhist practice that look like prayer dont in fact involve the Buddha or any other enlightened figure. When Buddhists are cultivating lovingkindness and theyre repeating phrases like May all beings be well; May all beings be happy, theyre not invoking any kind of outside agency. What theyre doing is strengthening their own desire to see beings flourish and be free from suffering. By repeating the thought, and the intention, May all beings be well; May all beings be happy, theyre exercising and strengthening the faculty of kindness. So while this may resemble prayer, there isnt really any petition (asking a deity for benefits) going on.

... and more: http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/do-buddhists-pray

Theravada Buddhists are forbidden from petition through prayer, but that doesn't stop them, people regularly pray for things like good luck or money, just not to the Buddha. The inclusion of Hindu Deities within Buddhist temples are to provide place for petitionary prayers to be answered, for they know that the Buddha just isn't listening to that, but maybe the Lord Ganesha is! It has also been noted in Sri Lanka, that Buddhists will petition through prayer within Christian Churches in hope that the Christian God will answer their prayers! YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!

Jim Morrison of The Doors said it:

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Generally, I would classify myself as an atheist - formerly agnostic.

However, prior to a medical procedure, I find that a small prayer to "God" has a calming effect.

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They pray to Buddha and "the spirits." No not that kind. In the same way as Christianity hijacked Summer Solstice as Christmas and the fertility and renewal of life festivals as Easter, Theravada Buddhism has included the animist spirit traditions into Buddhism. How else do we explain the penis charms sold in (I'll say nearly) every temple and other weird stuff. My wife did a ceremony 2 days ago in our orchard tho thank "the spirits" for looking after our trees. Some of them also pray to celebrated deceased monks like Ma Ha Boor who are presumed to be up there just waiting to hear from someone. The fact that you may pray in English is obviously not a problem. Revered hermits & monks of old who never knew any language but ancient Thai, understand you perfectly. Just like the United nations, they have over 150 chanels of real time translatio. Remember to leave the money at the temple.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

Prayer is in no way a Western concept, Hindu's pray for instance, and in Thailand they were practicing prayer long before Buddhism arrived. The truth is, prayer is an old fashioned concept, and one which the Buddha spoke against.

Yes, prayer is more ancient than the divisions of the world. Prayer is the ultimate primordial expression of wonder, and fear.

I am managing these thoughts currently as I read Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (public domain). When the very wise and adept continue to use the imagery of deity why do they do so, I wonder? It seems even those who evolve to the point of really grasping that no concept of deity can be valid as the human mind, limited and restrained, cannot comprehend such a thing. Yet the Buddhist Yogins continue this either with Shakti or other imagery. I suppose the issue remains the human nature of devotion to ally intention and direction of prayers. Perhaps. But I fully enjoyed this post today. Thank you. Again, ask. I fully believe every person you ask would share with you the manner of their prayers, if not the content.

I think many people feel that focusing on something helps them to meditate, whether that may be an image of a deity or a simple candle flame, the object they view keeps the body and the mind at one, thus preventing duality. If we are to close our eyes when meditating, as many people do have success with, it may be easy to slip into the hypnotic states of duality, even to fall asleep! I think it is really just a matter of what works for the individual.

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Praying is a Western concept whereas my understanding is that practitioners of Buddhism are simply seeking understanding or whatever in a way that is humble in its portrayal and although the action seems like the Western prayer hand clasp, it is not really that. That similar action in front of the Buddha's image or a monk etc, is a simply showing respect not worship per se. even if some wish may take place at the same time.

You do realise this is a light hearted forum and sometimes not meant to be looking for the meaning of life.As you get older hopefully you will become less of a deep thinker.As I was told when I first came here ( by many Thais ). You think too much then you get brain cancer( I am sure there are other natives who have been told the same).

Thanks, I guess I need another 47 years here to acquire any wisdom smile.png

You can never better lifes experience,pre internet that was all there was.But you will live and learn lad.

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Me and the "Church" have never really had an understanding. When I was 12 (54 years ago), I was pretty much kicked out of Catholic school for refusing to give up my belief that there is other intelligent life in the multitude of galaxies. The priests accused my parents of raising a "heretic". At 16, I was asked to leave the Methodist church when I questioned the existence of God, and the belief that only through Jesus could we get into Heaven, by daring a minister to tell me what happens to people, such as tribes in the Amazon Jungle who never heard of God or Jesus.

It took me the better part of 6 years to convince my Thai, Buddhist, wife that Buddha was NOT a god, but only a man, and one who specifically told his followers NOT to pray to him, and not to build images of him. So now she's a converted "Christian", and taking that to the extreme. facepalm.gif

I don't pray, but at times of stress, I do meditate, and it has nothing to do with any religion or belief in a "higher being". It's a practice of shutting down my mind, and all thoughts, and finding peace and calm within myself.

I have no problem with people and their religions. Each is entitled to believe what they want. But the religious faction can't seem to accept my beliefs. So be it.

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