The following is an introduction to the essays I have written on Buddhist Prayer (Volume One), to articles on the subject by various teachers (Volume Two), and to the 15 volumes in this collection titled An Ocean of Prayers…
November 17th, 2023
At this moment in time, I will begin again.
I am sitting in the library that is across the street from my home, listening to quiet music as the struggling, suffering world goes on outside. From a safe distance, I can think clearly, and try to express what I’ve had in me for some time now to say.
I usually feel like I am in the middle somewhere with any project I leave off and pick up again, but here the sense of it is especially acute. I know that I have only gathered together over the years the wisdom and inspiration of those who know much more than I do, and a few comments I’ve written down. Where does this begin? and Where does this lead to? – are more philosophical questions than I’m interested in now, as I hope will become clear.
I am more interested in how prayer works, and what can be accomplished with it
Of course, this implies a belief system to even begin, or to sustain prayer, and this is where it gets really interesting and practical for me. If a world view is there, then much happens naturally in terms of prayer, and meditation, and caring for ourselves and others and our world.
As I have tried to describe elsewhere, so much turns on the world view that we have. One small collection of essays I was able to complete recently has the title,Opening the Door to Pure Perception, since this makes a great difference, as far as what we feel we have to work with – the resources we can reach and make use of in our lives, and in the lives we care for.
The common, mundane view of our lives here has far fewer means. I have attempted then to describe the ways a person can open up to a fuller understanding of spiritual truths here.
Much has been written about prayer, but most of it, of course, is from a theistic point of view. I would have little to add to that, but the field of non theistic prayer is wide open. Not much has been said about it, which surprises me, but when I look at the life of prayer in general, and Buddhist prayer in particular, I catch a glimpse of what I can at least try to offer.
This didn’t begin here of course, and it will not end with however much we may be able to study, and reflect, and pray in our lives. It will continue, in mysterious ways, vivifying, revealing, always onward leading….
There is much to be said, and one person can only do so much, I know. I was heartened to continue though this when I heard earlier today –
It is not your obligation to complete the task,
but neither are you permitted to desist from it…
In response to the needs of our world then,
and with great hope and faith,
I send this forth,