How do Buddhists Pray?
People who practise buddhism are known as Buddhists. One thing that makes Buddhism different from other religions of the world is that this religion does not believe in one supreme God. Buddhists are non – theists. They believe in radiating love and kindness to all living beings so that every living being can be benefited by it. So, the praying technique of Buddhists is also unique.
In this article we will know how Buddhists pray.
Place of Prayer
Buddhists can pray both in home and at temple.
- Home: In their home, Buddhist people have one room or a certain area of a room is dedicated as shrine. This room or part of room houses a Buddha statue, several candles and incense. This room is used as the prayer room.
- Temple: There are many forms and shapes of Buddhists temples, the most commonly known are the pagodas of Japan and China. Buddhist temples consist of a statue of Buddha. In front of the statue of Buddha monks sit on the ground and pray. When the monks chant, people also take part in the prayer by repeating the chants along with them or silently repeating it in their mind. If someone doesn’t know the chant then they can pray by just listening to the chants.
Buddhist prayer is a focused expression of the sentiments of yearning, commitment and appreciation. Through their prayer Buddhists try to awaken their innate inner capacities of wisdom, courage and strength.
Buddhists pray by sitting in a serene and quiet place in their home or in temple where candles are lit in front of the statue of Buddha. They sit quietly and breathe mindfully. Then they start chanting mantras. A Mantra can be a word, a syllable or a sentence or a short prayer that Buddhists repeat several times, some do it aloud or in one’s own head.
One of the most popular mantra is the Avalokiteshvara mantra, which is as follows: “ om mani padme hum”. It is believed that this mantra has the following meaning: hail to the jewel in the lotus. However, the actual meaning of this phrase is too richly symbolical due to which it cannot be translated into some definite words.
While praying Buddhists use several objects while praying such as the prayer wheel, beads or prayer flag.
Prayer Wheel: Prayer wheel is a handheld object on which mantras are written. While praying Buddhists chant the mantras written on prayer wheel while spinning the wheel.
Beads: Using beads, Buddhists mark the number of times they repeat a mantra.
Prayer flag: A prayer flag is a special flag on which mantras are written. Whenever the flag flies due to the wind, the mantra is chanted.
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