Thread: What did the Buddha say about prayer?

  1. #1

    What did the Buddha say about prayer?

    A video from Secular Buddhist Doug Smith (just over 8 minutes).

    Any thoughts about what was said ?

  2. #2
    Some comments about the video from Justin Whitaker:

    I rarely follow podcasts, series, or youtube channels, but I have become fairly hooked on my friend Doug Smith’s YouTube channel called Doug’s Secular Dharma. Doug and I have co-written an article and a book chapter and I look forward to working more with him and possibly joining him on some of his future videos. Until then, I thought I’d share some of the more recent ones that I’ve especially enjoyed:

    What did the Buddha say about prayer?

    This is an excellent video. Doug goes beyond the tried-and-true Kalama Sutta and finds two suttas that deal specifically with the idea of wishing for things (in a supplicatory prayer manner). The first is the Ittha Sutta (AN 5.43), wherein the Buddha lists 5 things people commonly pray for: long life, beauty, happiness, status, and rebirth in heaven.

    And the Buddha says, “none of these these five things are obtained by prayers or wishes.”

    Instead the Buddha says one should practice heedfulness (a word that might be fading from the English lexicon, to be replaced by attentiveness or just “good attention” or awareness, non-distractedness, etc) and making merit. [Concept(s) of heedfulness and merit might be a good upcoming video – nudge, nudge.]

    Next, Doug presents the Asibhandhakaputta sutta (SN 42.6), wherein the Buddha might even be said to be mocking the notion of “prayers, praise, & circumambulation,” as a way of affecting things in the world around us, beit the destination of another person’s rebirth or making a great boulder float in the middle of a lake. As before, the Buddha suggests the uselessness of these activities and replaces them with a basic list of the 5 precepts.


Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Thu, 5:12 AM Thu, 7:12 AM Thu, 1:12 PM Thu, 6:42 PM Thu, 9:12 PM Fri, 12:12 AM