Written by Nick Polizzi
Last year, one of the most influential Zen masters of our time, Thich Nhat Hanh, departed his physical body at age 95. Lovingly known as the "father of mindfulness," his wisdom lives on and continues to heal and inspire millions worldwide.
To celebrate his life, I've included a powerful Buddhist prayer below. But first, here is some advice from Thich Nhat Hanh on the "right way to pray."
When I first read these words from him, they blew me away...
“If you are standing on one shore and want to cross over to the other shore, you have to use a boat or swim across. You cannot just pray, ‘Oh, other shore, please come over here for me to step across!’ To a Buddhist, praying without also practicing is not real prayer.
"In a real prayer, you ask only for the things you really need, things that are necessary for your well-being, such as peace, solidity, and freedom... freedom from anger, fear and craving. Happiness and well-being are not possible without peace, solidity and freedom. Most of our desires are not for our peace, solidity and freedom.
"While you pray, you are deeply aware of what you really need and what is just the object of your desire. This kind of prayer is the light of God that shines upon you, telling you which way to go in order to obtain peace, solidity and freedom. In a real prayer, you also touch the wholesome seeds in your consciousness and water them. These are seeds of compassion, love, understanding, forgiveness and joy.
"If while praying you can recognize these seeds in you and help them grow, your prayer is already a deep practice."
I hope this deep reflection touched something within you, as it did me. Here is a Buddhist prayer for love and compassion that embodies Thich Nhat Hanh's words above.
The Nine Prayers
May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
May I be free from injury. May I live in safety.
May I be free from disturbance, fear, anxiety, and worry.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
To honoring and nourishing the soul light that lives inside of you.
Host of Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness
& Founder of The Sacred Science
Nick Polizzi is the founder of The Sacred Science, a website and blog dedicated to explorations of alternative healing modalities and indigenous healing traditions. His work stems from a calling to honor, preserve and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of indigenous peoples around the world. He has spent his career directing and producing feature-length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine. His work illustrates the power we humans possess to overcome the many challenges that life can bring when we own our truth.
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