DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- PRAY FOR PEACE
- AND BE AT PEACE
By Nhat Quan
life, all human wishes, the most basic is probably the wish
for a peaceful life, for yourself, and all your loved ones.
So the proverb has a saying:
- Stay safe
and worry about poverty.
implication is that peace must be the first, most basic
element to have, and then it comes to material needs. Thus,
if they had to choose between wealth and security, the
ancients made a wise decision when choosing security.
Because a rich family is insecure, life cannot be happy and
good. While living a poor life in peace without worries can
still be much more peaceful and happy.
spiritual life too, people always want grace to bestow peace
for themselves, their families...., and also want to bring
peace and tranquility to someone in need. . Through that, as
if your loved one is sick, you pray to God to grant them
peace and quickly recover from illness.
traditions of religions, any religion has this prayer.
Depending on the traditions of each religion, you have many
different manifestations of praying for peace. That is, when
there is an urgent need, beyond human ability, beyond the
ability of medicine, often you believe in the power to help
from outside almighty beings. According to Buddhism,
Buddhists believe that praying for peace is to stay at home
or go to the temple to pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
for mercy and peace. This method of praying for peace is
very popular nowadays, because really with a sincere heart,
when you pray like that, you feel safe, to continue to raise
the hope that your loved one will recover from an accident
or illness. karma is eliminated.
In the ways
of praying for peace, in addition to praying themselves
often when the followers like in the Buddhist tradition,
Buddhists often ask the monks to read and chant prayers.
Because they believe that the sincerity of the householder,
together with the purity of the monks, with strong
attention, will touch the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They
will bless your loved ones to overcome the accident like the
verse that the monks often praise and recite:
- Buddha and
sentient beings, nature is usually empty
The Way of
sympathy is inconceivable
The net of
Brahmadeva spread over the ashram
directions of the Buddha Treasure are bright
In front of
the throne, my body appears
I bow my
head to take refuge.
sincere heart, you believe that if you have a request, you
will have inspiration. You believe in the protection of
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Believing in a superior will be
willing to help you, so your mind will be clear, and put
your full trust in prayer. For monks, it is at the request
of the householder to practice the ritual. The mind of the
monks at this time is altruistic mind, so when it comes to
praying for peace, they always think about their sacrifice
and dedication to helping others, so they are ready to pray
to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help you safely.
life, peace is so important, so in addition to your social
life, you always pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for
protection. The Venerables also encourage you, in your daily
life, basically, the art of skillful behavior can also help
you to prevent some unnecessary insecurities. For example,
the ancients often advised you in communication to:
friends and fewer enemies.
- To know
that living in peace is precious.
sentence of yielding, nine sentences of goodness..etc.
like that, you can only do half of it, because these methods
are not all that is needed for you to be secure. The reason
I say only half, is because if you want:
friends, less hatred, but what if other people deliberately
cause hatred without wanting to have friends?
- You always
value peace, but what about others deliberately trying to
stir you up?
- The more
you give in, what if people continue to cause trouble?
So, if you
always want to be safe, then everyone else around you must
too. Therefore, avoiding causing insecurity to others is
also protecting your own security. If everyone knows how to
limit causing insecurity to others, of course, the whole
society will be more secure...
But what has
just been mentioned briefly above is only the tip of an
iceberg, that is, very sketchy and meager compared to the
true magnitude of the problem. The hidden and more important
factor to your insecurity lies not entirely in the influence
of the external environment, but mostly in your own mind, in
the way you perceive things happening to you. Therefore, the
Buddha taught that:
- To be at
peace, there must be appropriate efforts not only in action
but also in the mind, not entirely expected from external
So, if you
know, with just one adjustment of perception, you can be at
ease, without any restlessness. But life is not that simple,
for all the grossest and mixed causes of insecurity are
still intact in you. You have not once identified or cleaned
up, let go of them... Your insecurity may come from a
beautiful flower pot that this morning before going to work
you forgot to water, you are afraid when you return it will
be dry, wilted. Or a new home that has been agreed to at a
great price but has not yet delivered a deposit, and you
fear the seller will change his mind, and that will mess up
your calculations... and so on and so forth.
than that, you have never had the courage to face the woes
in the middle of life. When an event has not happened, you
are anxious, when it actually happens, you are confused,
panic and have resentment against Heaven, blame people...
Your mind is full of completely meaningless thoughts and
should not be, because all of that will only confuse you
instead of helping to solve the problem.
mentioned, the basis of your insecurity lies not in the
external environment, but in your own mind. Therefore, the
solution to your peace of mind, or to pray for your peace,
is basically, first of all, you still have to go back to
examine your own mind to identify your insecurity. So that
you can see its deepest and most fundamental causes, then
there can find a way to eliminate them. So when preaching
the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha taught the first truth,
Suffering, indicating all the suffering that pervades this
life. However, you all don't want to suffer, you just want
to be happy and have fun. Your insecurities start there.
When you have not faced the truth of suffering to find out
the causes and eliminate those causes in order to end
suffering, you cannot yet walk on the peaceful path that
leads to true lasting happiness. Therefore, correct
awareness of suffering and its causes is also the first step
for you to realize peace of mind or peace.
But a lot of
you don't go that route. When you are faced with so many
insecurities, instead of turning to your own mind, you run
around looking for a way to find peace. This tendency has
existed since ancient times when people did not know much
about the natural environment, so they always had to be
afraid of natural phenomena such as thunder, rain, and
storm... From a feeling of helplessness. and fear and
insecurity in the face of these threats, you begin to think
of making sacrifices, invoking the gods you believe have the
power to govern those phenomena. Most religions still retain
this tendency, just change the objects of invocation
according to your beliefs. Your supplications today have
also changed and become much more varied. You also pray for
good luck buying at low prices, selling for high prices,
rich fortune, abundant health... but the most common and
most important thing is still praying for peace, and safe.
praying for peace like that really help you feel secure?
- The answer
is yes but also no.
on how you choose to pray for peace, as well as how you have
prayed for peace with a mind. As mentioned above, most of
the base of insecurity is in your own mind. So, if praying
for peace is a genuine way that can help you get peace of
mind, it will also change your perception of everything that
happens to you, and thus praying for peace can be seen as
having good results.
On the contrary, if the method of praying for the peace
you choose is wrong, blind, and based only on completely
untrue beliefs. If you are motivated by greed and
selfishness, no matter how hard you try to pray for peace,
you will not get peaceful results. Because insecurity is
inherently a companion with wrong views and delusion, it
will follow you until you are truly awakened, truly aware
of things around you.
These methods of praying for the peace of this kind of
delusion have been mentioned and warned by the Buddha in
many sutras. These are things like divination, dream
prediction, tattooing, killing creatures to sacrifice to the
gods... These are not true to the Dharma, go against the
principle of cause and effect, and arise from greed as well
as delusion and lustful antagonism. However, at present,
there are still many people who do not realize these things
and continue to put their faith in them. Many people still
mistakenly believe that it is possible to find security in
life by such wrong means.
The sincerity, prayer, star offering, and relief from the
accident are completely real. They are worried, afraid, and
insecure about the disasters that may happen to them in the
new year. This is a completely natural mentality, coming
from their own experiences into what they have experienced.
This fear is aroused when it is known which year it was hit
by what stars. With the psychological fear of those who have
fierce stars in their lives, worshiping stars and
eliminating accidents becomes a need to relieve stress and
give people a little faith.
Regarding the issue of offering stars and solving bad luck,
many people have spent a lot of paper and ink on this.
Personally, I think it's up to each person to believe it or
not. It is not to believe that there is, but not to believe
that there is no. For example, furniture in the house,
during the day, you can see everything very clearly, but at
night when the lights are on, you can still see everything
as during the day. But when the lights are off, you can't
see anything but a black color. Just because you can't see
it doesn't mean there's nothing. So in my opinion, this is
just the beginning when you want to be at peace. In fact, in
addition to worshiping stars, and eliminating bad luck, you
also have to practice, study, and do honest deeds. According
to the Lotus Sutra, the Universal Gate, the Buddha teaches
about the vow to save suffering and save accidents for all
sentient beings by Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The content
of this sutra affirms one thing:
- When sentient beings are in trouble, if they
single-mindedly recite the name of Bodhisattva
Avalokitesvara, he will immediately follow that sound to
rescue those in distress.
The image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in this chapter is a
common example for all Bodhisattvas who are practicing
Mahayana vows, for the benefit of all sentient beings. Their
practice vows, right from the moment of arising the Bodhi
mind, have taken service and saving sentient beings as the
main goal. Even the attainment of Buddhahood is considered
by them as a means to be able to do the best and the most
benefit for all sentient beings, not for themselves to be
freed from suffering.
Thus, attaining supreme perfect enlightenment is not the end
goal, but only the means by which the bodhisattva can
benefit all countless sentient beings. With that in mind,
they never think of their own benefit first, but all their
actions are aimed at benefiting all sentient beings.
Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with great compassion has made
great vows to save suffering and save accidents for all
sentient beings. Therefore, in times of suffering and
accidents, you can recite his name for peace of mind. With
the interplay between the two minds and certain conditions,
you will surely achieve peace. The Buddha called this
practice of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara giving sentient
beings peace without fear.
So, how should Buddhists pray for peace in the right way?
And under what conditions can you pray for peace?
First of all, you only think of praying for peace when your
heart is uneasy. So, basically, at that time, your mood is
similar to that of Than Quang when he said to Bodhidharma:
- My mind is not at peace, may the most venerable make me
The difference here is, Mr. Than Quang is only insecure due
to not having a correct perception, while you are insecure
due to specific physical or mental reasons due to unstable
events happening or There's a lot of danger coming your way.
Therefore, the method of making peace of mind here still
basically fits in the teaching of Bodhidharma:
- You give me your mind, I give you peace of mind
And in order
to bring the mind out here, you have no choice but to go
back and examine the mind itself. Even if others want to
help you, they can't do it for you, so you have to go back
to examine your mind yourself, and you can't expect or beg
someone to do it for you. In order to return to
contemplating your own mind, you need to have an appropriate
environment and a suitable setting around you. This is where
you need to start for peace.
family has a Buddhist altar, it is best to pray for peace at
home. Only if your living conditions do not allow it, such
as being too cramped or too noisy, or complicated... should
you think about conducting a prayer for peace at the temple.
you pray for peace at the temple or at home, you should
prepare carefully and dignify the minimum offerings such as
incense, lamps, fruits, etc. The problem is not that you
offer these things whatever, more or less, good or bad...,
but the main thing is to prepare everything with the
sincerity of your ability. After you have fully prepared
such offerings, you proceed to clean and arrange the
Buddha's altar to be dignified and clean. You should all do
it yourself, you should not ask others, unless everyone
involved in the preparation has the same mind to pray for
peace, like children in the family.
face the Buddha's altar with sincere respect and begin the
ritual of praying for peace. Long ago, the chanting of the
Universal Gate Chapter in the Lotus Sutra was chosen as a
ritual to pray for peace. The rituals of opening the sutras
and chanting the Universal Gate are clearly presented in all
the chanting rites in circulation today.
chanting, you need to focus your attention and reflect on
the meaning of each verse. Thanks to that, you can blend in
with the solemn atmosphere of the chanting, imbuing the
meaning of each verse into your mind.
content of the Universal Gate Sutra chapter talks about the
endless compassion of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. It was
this great compassion that gave him the ability to manifest
in all different realms, bringing fearless security to all
sentient beings in all situations. As long as those sentient
beings have the heart to recite his name, he will appear
So, what is
one heart to recite the name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara?
the beginning of this sutra, the Buddha explained the cause
and effect of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara's name:
- If there
are countless sentient beings who are suffering, hear the
name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and then single-mindedly
recite that name, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara will
immediately recognize the sound of people asking for help.
There, He immediately appeared to help that person get rid
that meaning, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is the great
compassion and compassion toward all sentient beings who are
suffering. As long as you single-mindedly recite his name,
there is immediately a mutual understanding that helps you
to be liberated. Here, as you can see in the Buddha's
teaching, suffering beings do not come forward and beg for
help, but hear the name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and
then wholeheartedly confess.
name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara means hearing about his
great compassion and compassion for all sentient beings.
One-heartedly reciting the name of Bodhisattva
Avalokitesvara means single-mindedly giving rise to great
compassion like him. This is the first condition to have a
connection between the Bodhisattva's great compassion and
the minds of sentient beings. Because if sentient beings do
not give rise to great compassion, they cannot rely on
anything to have a connection with the pure mind of the
When you are
able to generate the aspiration of great compassion towards
the sufferings of all other sentient beings, the sutra will
then continue to lead you into the realm of the great
compassion of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. With boundless
power, he can transform countless bodies in the suffering
realms to save all sentient beings. Just as you can chant
this with one mind, your great compassion will be able to
merge with the Bodhisattva's great compassion. In other
words, your narrow ego will completely dissolve in the
manifestation of great compassion without discrimination, at
that time you are the bodhisattva, the bodhisattva is you,
no two, no other. Those who have never had one-pointed
sincerity in chanting will have a hard time understanding
In other words, you need to see clearly that praying for
peace does not mean at all asking the Bodhisattva to save
suffering, as many people mistakenly believe. You cannot
face the Bodhisattva to ask him to give you this, to help
you with that... Such requests are completely misunderstood,
even contrary to the Buddha's teachings. The Buddha has
repeatedly mentioned in the scriptures that it is your
thoughts, actions, and words that determine all the karma
that you receive, not by any powerful blessing or disaster.
It is impossible to rely on some external force to change
the results of karma.
Instead, you must clearly understand that praying for peace
is first of all going back to examine your own mind. When
you begin to prepare for the prayer of peace, your mind has
already begun to quiet down the wrong thoughts. And began to
turn towards the Three Jewels, about the pure solemnity in
front of the Buddha platform, thereby facilitating the
reception of the meaning of the scriptures more deeply.
Reciting the name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is the
motivation to arouse in you your inherent compassion,
through contemplation of the Bodhisattva's great compassion.
The connection between your sincere heart when professing
and the pure compassion of the Bodhisattva will continue to
nurture the great compassion in you to grow. The prayer that
proclaims the great compassion of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
continues to take you deep into the realm of Bodhisattva's
great compassion, helping you to integrate with his great
compassion. In other words, at that time, Bodhisattva
Avalokitesvara manifested in yourself as the sutra clearly
- Where it is necessary to use the body of an elder to save
people, the Bodhisattva immediately embodies the body of an
elder to speak the Dharma. Where it is necessary to use the
body of a layperson to save people, the Bodhisattva
immediately embodies the body of a layperson to speak the
Once you have properly understood and done so, all the
restlessness in your mind will be dispelled. Thanks to the
great compassion power of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, it is
also the power of great compassion that is generated and
nurtured in your mind during the peaceful prayer ceremony.
The most specific manifestation of this is that after such a
peaceful ceremony, all thoughts of greed, anger, and
jealousy in you will subside, no more. You feel a state of
gentle serenity that you normally would not have. After the
ceremony, you should take some time to sit down right in
front of the Buddha altar, maintain this peaceful state of
mind, and reflect on the causes that have previously caused
You will notice a miraculous change, that at this moment,
what was most serious or scary to you before now doesn't
seem so scary as before. you feel calmer, more lucid, and as
a result, are able to realize many things that you didn't
understand properly about things before. Sometimes a nice
solution to the problem may arise at this point.
In reality, it is certain that your anxiety will be
mitigated, but to what extent will depend on a number of
different factors. For example, depending on how insecure
you were before, depending on your faith and sincerity while
performing the ritual of peace prayer. And also depends on
your perception of whether the meaning of praying for peace
is really right or not.
You can immediately see that the above peaceful prayer is
not at all in the meaning of supplication, or supplication,
but rather an effort to return to contemplating one's own
mind, purifying the mind, and generating great compassion
mind. Reciting the name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and
diligently reciting the Universal Gate Sutra is a magical
means to help you achieve such a goal. In other words, the
power to dispel your restlessness is the power of great
compassion. And once that mind has been developed in you,
the distinction between you and Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
will be gradually narrowed. Since then there are no givers
and receivers in fearless giving, so peace naturally arises
in you without needing to ask for it.
Thus, if you go to the temple to ask the Master to recite
sutras to pray for peace, or invite the monks and nuns to
come to the house as possible, but if you cannot go to the
temple and cannot invite the monks and nuns to come to the
house, you will do it yourself.
Because, praying for peace cannot be a blessing or a
disaster, but the most important point is to help you feel
secure, that is, to dispel the insecurity and confusion in
cases where it is not possible to carry out a prayer for
peace at home, you can also organize it at a temple, but you
should still chant and worship by yourself, instead of just
relying on the chanting of the monks, and you are only there
to serve the sutras and consider it done. Even when monks
and nuns are chanting sutras, you have to put your whole
heart into each verse in order to have any effect.
In short, if
you can diligently and sincerely perform the prayer for
peace according to the Buddha's teachings, then surely peace
will come to you, and all difficulties will be able to be
gradually alleviated. On the contrary, if you hold the wrong
perception of peace-seeking, only wishing for illusory
things to suit your lustful mind, then praying for peace
will not bring any benefit.
peace to be at peace is completely possible in accordance
with the Dharma. In the light of the Buddhadharma, I hope
that all of you at all times, at all locations, in all
places, no matter how many insecurities you carry in your
hearts when know how to pray for peace in accordance with
the true dharma, surely you will be as desired.
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