However, as I related in my post, "Buddhism and the Divine," I understand now that my true Buddha nature, my unborn Buddha mind, is the divine essence inside me, my divinity. And so I can speak with the presence of god (not "God") within me and can pray to it because it is me. I am not praying to the bearded person in the sky, I am praying to the spirit within me. And the abode of that spirit is my heart.
As part of my daily meditation, I have for some time opened up my chakras, and specifically my crown chakra to Buddha, my divinity, and the universe. Recently I have added the following prayer in light of this new understanding:
Lord, please support me in my intent to:
- Live my life on a higher plain, experiencing things with dispassion, free of emotion.
- Be free of cravings and attachments.
- Feel strong, be strong.
- Love myself unconditionally, like myself, feel that I am somebody without needing validation from others
- Manifest financial abundance and good fortune
- Be aware of all that I do and think and its impact on other people
- Empty myself of my ego before you.
- Say, "your will not my mind's."
And so be one with you, with the child of the universe that is me
And be filled with light and abundance.
Radiate that light and abundance,
And so be a light to myself and others.
I am aware, however, that the challenges the world and my ego-mind present me with every day are so numerous that I need to pray not just during my morning meditation, but at points throughout the day if I am to have any realistic hope of keeping to my path with consistency.
But this is not news; I have been aware and said for years how difficult it is to stay on the path throughout the day, to not respond emotionally to the things we experience. And I have suggested various practices to refocus oneself during the day. But while each of these practices worked for a day or two, I quickly forgot to use them; I got distracted by life.
Recently, though, I realized the problem: just like daily meditation practice, one must set aside a time each day that is consistently devoted to supportive meditation/prayer throughout the day. It must become part of one's day, like brushing your teeth or eating.
As I sat with this challenge yet again, I remembered that It is a practice for those of various faiths to say a grace with each meal for precisely this reason. I refer not to the perfunctory, pro-forma grace that has become a meaningless gesture for many, but to a heartfelt and fervent grace. Such a grace keeps one focused on the higher plain and one's connection with a higher power, rather than the issues of your ego and mortal man.
In fact, at the temple I attended in Michigan, when we would have lunch after the meditation service, we would begin with a grace followed by silent eating. I have carried the text of that grace in my wallet for almost 30 years now, so powerful is it, but I have only pulled it out from time to time.
"This food is the gift of the whole universe -- the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food so that we may realize the path of practice.
The first four mouthfuls
With the first taste, I promise to offer joy.
With the second taste, I promise to help relieve the suffering of others.
With the third taste, I promise to see others’ joy as my own.
WIth the fourth taste, I promise to learn the way of non-attachment and equanimity."
And so I have started a new practice in which I say this Buddhist grace at the beginning of each meal; and after each meal, I recite the above prayer, prefaced by, "Lord, thank you for this food and please . . . "
As a general matter, our relationship with our true Buddha nature/divinity/heart tends to be somewhat distant; we don't really feel that we are one with it; we don't really know what it is. That is not good for one's practice or well-being.
To change that dynamic, it would be very helpful to be in conversation with your divinity, to really make it part of your life – not just your practice – but the whole you. All our lives we've been in constant conversation with our ego-mind, our false self (see my video, "Your Ego ≠ Your True Self"). Having freed ourselves (hopefully) from its control, we must replace that conversation with enriching conversation with our Buddha nature/divinity/heart, which is your true self (see my video "Your True Self = Your Heart").
May you experience peace and happiness.