|Photo credit: www.saintanneschurch.dk|
Prayers are very much a part of our existence for almost all of us. For me prayers were like my mother, the foundation on which I built whole of my existence. Since my childhood buddhist chants appealed to me and so my prayers are inspired by buddhism, although as a child I said them for fun. As I grew up I started asking questions and the answers that I got fanned my curiosity and I am still searching for some more and it has been quite a journey. Here this way I am taking some time out as a self -assessment exercise.
Since a long time back I had this intention to make prayers the keys to my mornings and locks to my nights like Gandhi did but I somehow I am still struggling to do it. However I sit longer on weekends to compensate and ease my guilt. Once I complete my chants (which are a concoction of various incantations composed by different masters) I dedicate the merits if any.
There is no rudimentary sequence as such in saying them, it is just a free flow that I decided for myself. After these chants, I dedicate my merits to all sentient beings like all other bodhisatvas of three times have or would have done. I also would wish that these merits that I accumulated through chants along with those gathered in countless past lives to benefit the sentient beings as their altruistic dedications does.
This is how I start; "from the times immemorial until today, down to this moment, through different times; high and low, good and bad in different births and rebirths in different realms. I know I have been fortunate to be embalmed by your( root guru) blessings. Even today you have been the source all my good fortunes, sound health and decent accomplishments. I am grateful for your blessings, for all the good things that befell me because it gave me happiness, satisfaction, and joy.
I am also grateful for all those not so good things that happened in my life so far, because these moments gave me lessons that were the fabric of my holistic existence and balanced my world view. These hard times taught me how to reminisce moments of joy. These tough times made me strong. Sufferings made sense, like awful tasting medicines. Adversity helped me appreciate goodness in life and swallow pride when I am better of. Those miseries made me brave although being well aware that they are the unerring return of my karmic actions of innumerable previous lives.
I imagine the spirits of triple gem, essence of body speech & mind of buddhas of all directions and times, my dharma kings, my great parents, my wise teachers, my nice friends, my kind relatives, my lovely wife and even my well meaning enemies, in the face of my root guru. I say am sincerely thankful for everything and especially for being the fundamental components of the world I live in.
I say " Starting today until I end of my cyclic existence and then buddhahood; in peace or in pain, in life or in death I seek refuge in you my Guru". Thus I invoke him to bestow me with inspiration to love, strength to bear pain and bravery to conquer them but not to solve them for me. Not to salvage me but to guide me as necessary.
As a buddhist I am always mindful of death, however we do not have any sort of control over when and how, therefore it has a special place in my thought and say in my prayers. So, i say, "since the time and circumstances that i must close my eyes is uncertain, I may die the next moment or any time in future. In case if i die without much realization, let me be reborn as a complete man (although bit biased) with full faculties and long life; come across with my root guru if not an ideal master, time to practice dharma and chance to attain buddhahood in one life-time like King of Yogi's (Milarepa).
After all this unlimited wishes and sincere prayers, I watch my breath. I breath air in and then back out through my nostrils without thoughts. Feel the air through the lungs and movements of my tummy. I do this in silence, with an image of my guru in my mind and less thinking. I do so for 1 to 2 minutes which stretches to 5 minutes sometimes. When you get a hang of it you feel good. But this are actually my wishes, I could be happier If i could do it like I have written them.