Zen

Q. Should we pray to the Buddha?

A. Let us suppose there was once a wise and charitable arithmetic teacher who has since passed away. He, when alive, always advised people to realise the arithmetic rules and did his best to teach them to as many people as he could. In the course of encouraging them to learn the rules he would speak of the benefits that they could enjoy and how their lives would be changed when they had mastered the rules.

Now how can we enjoy the benefits he said we could enjoy; by praying to him or by mastering the rules? However earnest and sincere our prayer may be, it has nothing to do with the benefits that the late teacher mentioned.

It is not because we have worshipped and prayed to previous great scientists but because we have mastered the laws of nature or the laws of science they discovered and utilise them to improve our lives that we can enjoy the benefits scientific advance has brought.

In the same way, the Buddha, while alive, always advised people to see things as they are so that they might escape from their suffering and did his best to teach how to see things as they are to as many people as he could. In doing this he would speak of the benefits they could enjoy and how their lives would change when they had mastered the way of seeing things as they are. He always encouraged them to make the best effort to realise the way.  However, he never told them to blindly believe, worship or pray to him.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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