Prayer is a request for the wishful result whether by imagination or by yearning. Someone's wishing is possible to be fulfil if he is doing good deeds as well as asking for it. In order to have a certain value must always do the right action (meritorious deeds). A request makes known a wish for what one wants.
Most Buddhist devotees have their prayers and also pray. The Buddha advised his disciples:
“Bhikkhus! Pray for bliss. Having prayed, make gifts, observe moral precepts and develop culture.”
There is story about a truthful prayers in the commentary of Dhammapada.
At the time of Buddha there was once a famine all over the Benares. On that account, the millionaire, Menda and his family offered their last food to an Arahant. He vowed to pray for the benefit of the public. It was to make all his granaries full of grains. Similarly all of his family members also prayed not to be used up for the poor. The Arahant gave blessings, “May you quickly accomplish what you need! Let good wishes for all be fulfilled!”
For four asankheyas and one hundred thousand kappas, Siddhattha Gotama strived to attain the virtues to be Sammasambuddha. Likewise, to be aggasavaka, Ashin Sariputta one asankheya and one hundred thousand kappas would be needed to make great efforts for perfections and so on.
As an ordinary person, one who wishes to attain nibbana quickly, can have a right to perceive the enlightenment. If not yet, he has a right to attain nibbana during this Buddha sasana. Finally, it is sure that he can achieve his goal in the time of future Buddha Arimettaya.
In Buddhist prayer, one had better make only himself. By means of other's request, it is hard to coincide with the needs of a devotee. As an example, the richman's the only son, Sumedha definitely asked himself for what he wished, offering the Dipankara Buddha with five bouquets of lotus, because of his mahakaruna.
Actually there are no prayers in Buddhism. Buddhism is the doctrine of kamma (action), i.e. kaya kamma, vaci kamma and mano kamma. It means physical action, verbal action and mental action. A Buddhist prayer works in harmony with the law of Kamma (Action).
In the above example of prayers, the Bodhisatta Sumedha not only do praying but also he actually strives to fill ten perfections (dasa parami) till enlightenment. Thus the key point to know is that doing is better than wishing. Instead of prayers, meditations should be made for purifying the mind in order that truth can be realized.
The utility of the Buddhist prayers is shown in the commenary of the Majjhima Nikaya. It follows:
“The destiny of one who possesses faith,virtue, learning, liberality and wisdom, but does not pray is uncertain; the destiny of one who prays, but does not possess the above five qualities is also not certain; the destiny of one who prays as well as possesses them is certain. In the same way as it is not certain whether a stick thrown upward in the air will fall by the head or tail or will fall flat, even so it is not certain where one will be reborn. Thus, in doing a meritorious deed it is proper to pray for a definite goal.”
Posted by Nyan U