What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

The seven branches of prayer begin with salutations, which traditionally take the form of bowing and prostrations. The idea is that we honour the Awakened ones with our body, speech and mind, giving up our pride and egocentricity in order to be open to the vision of the Buddhas. So the gesture of salutation or bowing is one of acknowledging, aligning, honouring and celebrating. Continue reading What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

tealight candle on human palms

How should we practise for those who have died? Do we focus on their ‘old’ identity? Should we expand the practice to all beings too?

When someone is in our heart they are always in our heart – through life through death through all their lifetimes and all our lifetimes too. That is how the Bodhisattva vow works, that is why we can make a vow to bring all beings to Awakening. It makes sense because we are connected with all beings in our hearts whatever life circumstances they are in or identities they have adopted. Continue reading How should we practise for those who have died? Do we focus on their ‘old’ identity? Should we expand the practice to all beings too?

pranidhana, prayer, buddhism, mon lam,

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

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

What if our prayers and practice feel contrived and liturgy and imagery doesn’t move us?

I have reflected for decades on how the worlds we find ourselves in are the inseparable result of my actions of body speech and mind.  What I wish for is what will eventually manifest – so directing my intentions as powerfully as possible makes complete sense to me. Continue reading What if our prayers and practice feel contrived and liturgy and imagery doesn’t move us?

Video: Prayer in Buddhism – Do you pray in Buddhism?

Lama Shenpen answers the questions: Do you pray in Buddhism? Who are you praying to? What for? Does it do any good? Does prayer mean you have to believe in something to pray to?  Prayer is strongly connected to the idea of (another unpopular word!) ‘Worship’. We talk about worship in Christian tradition. But even the Buddha when he reached enlightenment asked himself, ‘now I’m foremost in the world, and I’m the great enlightened Buddha, what shall I worship, who shall I worship? Continue reading Video: Prayer in Buddhism – Do you pray in Buddhism?

Why do Buddhists recite Liturgy – prayers, chanting etc – and how can we best relate to that?

There are many benefits of reciting liturgy. One important benefit is that as we focus on the words and meaning, even just intuitively without really understanding them, our attention is naturally drawn to a single point and stabilizes. The more the words speak to our heart the easier it is to focus on them, because we are being drawn towards their significance. Continue reading Why do Buddhists recite Liturgy – prayers, chanting etc – and how can we best relate to that?

person holding red candle in a dark room

How do we transform our negative actions into positive actions that benefit others?

We are uniquely connected to all other beings in the same kind of way that every point in space is uniquely connected to all other points in space. If we damage our connection with others through our unskilful actions their mandala registers that Continue reading How do we transform our negative actions into positive actions that benefit others?