Is a pranidhana – a wishing prayer or the power of our wishes and intentions – just a concept?

pranidhana, prayer, buddhism, mon lam,
Is a pranidhana another concept?

A student asks:

Is a pranidhana [a wishing prayer or the power of our wishes and intentions] a concept? If so isn’t it conditioned?

Lama Shenpen replies:

The power of the pranidhana comes from the true nature of reality – the Indestructible Heart Essence – the Unborn and non-Compounded.  This never dies and is our Tathagatagarbha or Buddha Nature.  When it is no longer covered by confusion it has the power to spontaneously accomplish all it wishes and intends or has ever wished and intended – in a way as soon as we wish anything it is accomplished but for us it seems to take time for the wish to ripen, as with karmic intentions.

In fact the intention and its accomplishment are not in time so in a sense they are simultaneous.

When we make pranidhanas in our confused state we have to use our thinking mind which is distorted by doubts, hesitations and wrong views. Nonetheless the closer to the heart we make the wish the more powerful and beneficial it is – so that is why connecting to our heart-wish with confidence and understanding/clarity – is so important.

By linking our pranidhana to that of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas the more it is empowered by non-compounded reality – in other words the more its power tends towards Awakening and links us to the Mandala of Awakening.

So in a way its power is all non-conceptual and non-compounded even though while we are still on the path it is mixed with concepts and confusion – and that is what makes it seem the cause and fruit are conditioned and separated by time and space.  It doesn’t stop their working though!

Lama Shenpen Hookham

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