To pray for health and peace is to help bring safety and peace to those in need.
Depending on each person’s consciousness, there are different ways to express our beliefs and prayers for health and peace:
- When our mind is weak or helpless, we believe in the power of supreme beings from above who can save and help us. So we pray for health and peace by asking the supreme beings to have pity and bestow us with safety. With utmost sincerity, this way of praying is usually very effective. Looking for feelings of safety is the main characteristic of this consciousness.
- When our mind is stronger and more confident, we believe that our own strength will change and improve life conditions around us. We want to offer our own strength and ability to help someone who needs safety and peace instead of asking help from some supreme beings. Self-confidence and denial of all things beyond one’s vision are the main characteristics of this consciousness.
- When our mind is strong, and our faith in ourselves, in the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and in the supreme beings is also strong, we will feel that in addition to their help we can also make changes ourselves. Therefore, praying for health and peace in this consciousness involves our active contributions and offerings along with our effort to pray for the favor of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The harmony of recognizing one’s position and limitation in the universe and being aware of self power as well as others’ power is the main characteristic of this consciousness.
- When our mind is strong, and we live with an altruistic consciousness, we always think of sacrificing ourselves to help others. If they need us to pray for their health and safety, we are willing to pray for them so the supreme beings above will help them get well and have peace. Sacrifice and altruism are the main characteristics of this consciousness.
We should know which consciousness level we are in and use the appropriate way to pray for health and peace.
In the Amitabha Dharma Assembly, the notion of praying for health and peace is understood as cultivation practice on the behalf of others. For example, our loved ones might not have time to practice, or they might be sick, lack the means, or their minds have not yet been open to the practice; thus when we have the opportunity and means to prostrate respectfully and practice, we do it for them. In Buddhism, this is called the virtue of merit dedication.
How do we dedicate our merits to pray for their health and peace?
- -We write the name XXX on the spirit tablet with the line “All the karmic hindrances on the body of …XXX”
- -Then we should remember to carry this spirit tablet with us each day to remind us that we must practice and prostrate respectfully for that person.
- -While practicing, remember to send loving-kindness and good thoughts to those we pray for. At the same time, we offer our utmost sincerity to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
With such thoughts to pray for health and peace, we will be active and positive, without a pessimistic and begging attitude. We will form a bridge with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, so they can easily spread their loving-kindness and healing power to those we pray for.