Buddhism is not characterized by multiple prayers like some other religions, but prayer is simply a spiritual dialogue that helps you center yourself mentally and emotionally. As you begin to pray, visualize the beings you mention as happy and peaceful. Imagine your thoughts of loving kindness reaching them, touching them, hugging them and making them feel good and happy and peaceful.
Table of Contents
- 1 Saying Buddhist prayers
- 1.1 Center yourself with good posture, even breathing, and awareness.
- 1.2 Learn a few simple mantras.
- 1.3 Try repeating or expressing a simple prayer for the Three Jewels.
- 1.4 Say simple prayers of gratitude before meals.
- 1.5 Learn metta prayer.
- 1.6 Remember that prayer is simply a way to connect spiritually.
- 2 Pray with Tibetan prayer beads
- 2.1 Use the beads as an aid to counting your prayers or mantras, not as a rigid set of prayers to recite.
- 2.2 Understand the structure of the mala.
- 2.3 Say a prayer for each bead.
- 2.4 Don’t skip the main bead once you’ve finished the first sentence.
- 2.5 Keep your mala in a clean, high place, or wear it around your neck or hands.
- 3 Tips
Saying Buddhist prayers
Center yourself with good posture, even breathing, and awareness.
Before you pray, take a deep breath, make yourself comfortable, and close your eyes. Focus on the here and now, centering yourself in whatever way feels right for you. You should get lost in your prayers and not just say them. Candles, scents, and dim lighting can help calm you and bring you closer to your prayer.
Learn a few simple mantras.
Mantras are simply phrases meant to be repeated over and over, building up in your mind and helping you sink into deeper meaning. Om mani padme hum: Translated as “Hail, jewel in the lotus”. Oṃ Amideva Hrīḥ: Pronounced: “OM Ami-dehva re.” Or in English: “Overcome all hurdles and obstacles” Om A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhih: This chant is believed to aid wisdom, critical thinking and writing. Emphasize the “Dhih” (pronounced Di) when you sing. There are many other ways such as listening to audio files, this helps immensely.
Try repeating or expressing a simple prayer for the Three Jewels.
This prayer is a good short prayer that can be repeated as a mantra. May my teachers be healthy, happy and peaceful. May my parents be healthy, happy and peaceful. May my relatives be healthy, happy and peaceful. May my friends be healthy, happy and peaceful. May the indifferent people be healthy, happy and peaceful. May the unkind people be healthy, happy and peaceful. May all meditators be healthy, happy and peaceful. May all beings be healthy, happy and peaceful.
Say simple prayers of gratitude before meals.
Mealtime is a wonderful time to slow down and show gratitude for earthly blessings. Food intake is a time when you can get close to those around you and respect your physical nature. Try the following Meal Prayers: May this food be dedicated to the Triple Gem To the Noble Buddha To the Noble Dharma To the Noble Sangha Bless this food so that we may take it as medicine Free from attachment and craving So that it may nourish our bodies so that we may Zum May work well for all sentient beings. ”
Learn metta prayer.
The following prayer, taken from a reading of the Buddha, is a vast and powerful prayer that you repeat to yourself alone: That I may be adept at discerning what is good, that I may understand the path to peace, let me able, upright, uncomplicated, of good speech, gentle and free from pride; Let me be content, easy to please, have few duties, live simply, control my senses, be wise, be without pride, and be unattached to any nation, race, or other groups. Let me not do the slightest thing for which the sage might blame me. Instead, let me think, “May all beings be wholesome and safe, may they be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, be they great, great, mediocre, or small , be they tiny or essential, Be visible or invisible, whether they live near or far away, Born or unborn; may all beings be happy. Let no one, anywhere, deceive or despise another. Let no one in anger or hate another wanting harm.” Just as a mother would protect her child, her only child, with her own life, so let me cultivate an unrestrained spirit for all beings in the world. Let me cultivate boundless love for all beings in the world, above, below and above freely, without ill will or hostility. Standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, free from torpor, let me fix my attention on this memory as much as possible. That, they say, is the divine life right here. ”
Remember that prayer is simply a way to connect spiritually.
Buddha is not a creator god, although some practices consider him divine. Nonetheless, the prayer is not intended as an offering to the Buddha. It’s more of a way of deepening your own spirituality. If you feel like praying, then you should pray and worry about theology later. You can of course come up with your own specific mantras and think about your own methods of prayer as there is no wrong way to pray.
Pray with Tibetan prayer beads
Use the beads as an aid to counting your prayers or mantras, not as a rigid set of prayers to recite.
The prayer beads, also known as mala, are used to keep track of your prayers, not as some sort of punishment or yardstick. They are a bit like rosaries, but you should know that they are there to help your spiritual practice and not to hinder it. Counting the beads activates your body in prayer, allowing you to work with the body (beads), mind (prayer), and spirit (visualization) simultaneously. You can use whatever prayers or mantras you want with your beads.
Understand the structure of the mala.
There are usually 108 beads on Tibetan prayer beads, plus a larger “main” bead. Whenever you have gotten around the mala, it is assumed that you have reached 100 prayers/mantras, using the other eight as extras in case you miscount or missed a mantra. Some people believe that the main bead has a special meaning and it is sometimes called the “guru bead”.
Say a prayer for each bead.
Close your eyes and feel the first bead, often the main bead. Say your prayer or mantra in full, then move to the next bead, feeling your way along the mala. Some people use different mantras for the different-sized beads if you have them. You can use your right or left hand to count. Don’t worry about getting everything “perfect”. Focus on visualizing your prayer as you say it, staying fully in the present moment. Ground yourself in the material world by keeping your hands on the present bead.
Don’t skip the main bead once you’ve finished the first sentence.
Once you’ve gone all the way around the beads, turn the chain over and continue in the same direction you went. This is mainly symbolic and indicates that you are not “rising” above your teacher, guru or leader.
Keep your mala in a clean, high place, or wear it around your neck or hands.
There is nothing wrong with wearing your mala and having it with you so you can recite your prayers anywhere. If you’re not wearing it, hang it somewhere out of the way or tucked away safely on your altar.
There are many different forms of Buddhism around the world, some of which believe in a Pure Land (similar to the Christian heaven), and some of which are based on enlightenment in the here and now.
Read our blog to learn about how to say a Buddhist prayer.