The power of prayer is well known over centuries and in all different religious beliefs.
According to Buddhism, the world in which we live and all that happens to us is a result of our past actions. Past harmful actions create unhappy results and skillful actions create happy results. One way to purify obstacles we experience due to our past harmful action is through prayers and pujas. A puja is a special ceremony in which prayers are offered to the Buddhas to request their blessings or invoke their help.
The power of prayers derives from the sincere motivation of the person asking for prayers, as well as the pure mind of the persons performing the prayers. It is said that prayers performed by ordained ones are especially powerful and effective as they are done on the basis of pure morality. But most importantly, making offerings to the different manifestations of enlightened beings, and to the Sangha community generates and increases merit, our positive potential. Merit is needed to have success in all activities.
Pujas are performed to avert and clear the three types of obstacles which arise due to the lack of merit, which prevents us from achieving our worldly and spiritual goals. Removing these obstacles will help us to achieve happiness and good fortune in all our activities.
How to request a Puja
While some prayers are of universal benefit, there are others that help with specific problems. It is always advisable to ask a lama or other knowledgeable person for advice on what puja is suitable for one’s specific situation or problem. Kopan offers different ways of requesting a puja, from requesting an observation of your problem or question to a simple prayer request. Choose one option from below.
There are three types of obstacles.
- Worldly obstacles – affecting our day to day life, relationships, business, and finances.
- Inner obstacles – affecting mental and physical health in the form of strong emotions, confusion, and associated physical problems.
- Secret obstacles – obstructing the attainment of wisdom, experienced as difficulties in Dharma practice.
Pujas can be performed for various purposes:
- for the dying – to help pacify their mind, and decrease fear during the time of death.
- for the deceased – to bless and guide their mind to a higher state of rebirth and liberation.
- for sickness – to remove obstacles to mental and physical health.
- for success in one’s activities – to remove obstacles to success in all activities, be they worldly or spiritual.