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I Pray

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I pray I pray
Our steps brim with compassion

I pray
Our eyes are clear of greed
Glowing with the light of compassion

Oh humanity! I pray
I pray
In this world let there be no disasters

I pray
In this world
Let there always be fulfillment and abundance

I pray
That parents are compassionate and children are devoted and loving
And people live in respectful harmony

I pray
That people never lose their homes

I pray
That people are not robbed of their wealth

I pray
For all beings
There is no destruction of home

I pray
That mothers no longer worry about their children’s world

I pray
That even little critters own the right to live

I pray
That all beings give rise to good within

I pray
That the waves of the sea
Spread far and wide
The beautiful stories of humanity

I pray I pray

Our steps brim with compassion

I pray

Our eyes are clear of greed

Glowing with the light of

compassion

Oh humanity! I pray

I pray

In this world

let there be no disasters

I pray

In this world

Let there always be

fulfillment and abundance

I pray

That parents

are compassionate

and children

are devoted and loving

And people

live in respectful harmony

I pray

That people

never lose their homes

I pray

That people

are not robbed of their wealth

I pray

For all beings

There is no destruction of home

I pray

That mothers

no longer worry about

their children’s world

I pray

That even little critters

own the right to live

I pray

That all beings

give rise to good within

I pray

That the waves of the sea

Spread far and wide

The beautiful stories of humanity

Background

Written by editors

I Pray|Lotus Recollections

When we make a heartfelt wish for all sentient beings to have happiness and the causes of happiness, we are in fact changing the world! ── Zhen-Ru

Zhen-Ru composed I pray in February 2017. Looking back to 2016, the world had been hard hit by storms, floods and frequent earthquakes brought about by climate change, as well as endless warfare, refugee tides... As Zhen-Ru prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the welfare of the world, she uttered her concern for all living beings through a song. The words she sang became this short prayer, I pray, This prayer carries her care and good wishes for the world, and reminds us all to embrace a heart of kindness and virtue toward ourselves and all living beings alike.

Can wishes actually come true? The teachings of the Buddha tell us that they definitely can! The great Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna says, If virtue is a good stallion; then aspiration is the bridle that steers it. Our roots of virtue, both great and small, are like a good horse—a good vehicle—on our path of spiritual growth; and we must harness its power through skillful aspiration and dedication. Zhen-Ru says that if you want to be happy, do more virtuous deeds and avoid non-virtuous deeds; and when things are beyond your current ability, start with a virtuous wish!

The chapter on Purifying Practices in the Flower Ornament Sutra gives the best illustrations for how we can make virtual wishes in any situation. While we eat, we can make a wish for all sentient beings to be nourished by the joy of meditation, and fulfilled by the delight of dharma. When we go to bed, we can pray for all beings to attain physical ease, and undisturbed minds. While we wash ourselves, we can make a wish for all beings to be undefiled in body and mind, radiantly pure inside and out. When the heat of summer gradually subsides and the weather begins to cool, we can make a wish for all sentient beings to attain the highest enlightenment, and the ultimate peace and coolness.

When Master Bo-do-wa saw people who were in a happy mood, he would silently bless them, May your welfare and happiness never decline; but may they increase and bring you a life of excellence. When he met travellers from afar, he would think, I hope your hometown will have a good harvest, and that you will accomplish very meaningful work while you are away from home.

Let us start with the mind, and nourish a boundless spirit of enlightenment that loves and cares for the world and all living beings. Even if you are sitting in your own room, when you make a sincere wish for the happiness of all, you are sending a beautiful gift to the whole world!

Some passages from the Flower Ornament Sutra are taken or adapted from Thomas Cleary's translation (The Flower Ornament Scripture--A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, 1993).

Background

Written by editors

I Pray|Lotus Recollections

When we make a heartfelt wish for all sentient beings to have happiness and the causes of happiness, we are in fact changing the world! ── Zhen-Ru

Zhen-Ru composed I pray in February 2017. Looking back to 2016, the world had been hard hit by storms, floods and frequent earthquakes brought about by climate change, as well as endless warfare, refugee tides... As Zhen-Ru prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the welfare of the world, she uttered her concern for all living beings through a song. The words she sang became this short prayer, I pray, This prayer carries her care and good wishes for the world, and reminds us all to embrace a heart of kindness and virtue toward ourselves and all living beings alike.

Can wishes actually come true? The teachings of the Buddha tell us that they definitely can! The great Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna says, If virtue is a good stallion; then aspiration is the bridle that steers it. Our roots of virtue, both great and small, are like a good horse—a good vehicle—on our path of spiritual growth; and we must harness its power through skillful aspiration and dedication. Zhen-Ru says that if you want to be happy, do more virtuous deeds and avoid non-virtuous deeds; and when things are beyond your current ability, start with a virtuous wish!

The chapter on Purifying Practices in the Flower Ornament Sutra gives the best illustrations for how we can make virtual wishes in any situation. While we eat, we can make a wish for all sentient beings to be nourished by the joy of meditation, and fulfilled by the delight of dharma. When we go to bed, we can pray for all beings to attain physical ease, and undisturbed minds. While we wash ourselves, we can make a wish for all beings to be undefiled in body and mind, radiantly pure inside and out. When the heat of summer gradually subsides and the weather begins to cool, we can make a wish for all sentient beings to attain the highest enlightenment, and the ultimate peace and coolness.

When Master Bo-do-wa saw people who were in a happy mood, he would silently bless them, May your welfare and happiness never decline; but may they increase and bring you a life of excellence. When he met travellers from afar, he would think, I hope your hometown will have a good harvest, and that you will accomplish very meaningful work while you are away from home.

Let us start with the mind, and nourish a boundless spirit of enlightenment that loves and cares for the world and all living beings. Even if you are sitting in your own room, when you make a sincere wish for the happiness of all, you are sending a beautiful gift to the whole world!

Some passages from the Flower Ornament Sutra are taken or adapted from Thomas Cleary's translation (The Flower Ornament Scripture--A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, 1993).

Translated by Amrita Translation Foundation
October 9, 2022
Author: Zhen-Ru
Translator: Kacy Lin
Editors: Venerable Heather, Ven. Sabrina, Ven. Joanna, Ven. Elena, Ven. Sonia, Ven. Tina, Jingli Wang

Readers’ Messages

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  • Liz LAM

    Thank you teacher for the heartfelt wishes to all sentient beings in the praying. All the words interpret compassion and deeply touched my heart. I pray that I can follow in your steps.

  • Irene Ler (SG)

    Good day, dear Teacher Zhenru.
    Ever so grateful for this recent composition of: "I Pray".

    As Teacher mentioned, "When we make a heartfelt wish for all sentient beings to have happiness and the causes of happiness, we are in fact changing the world!"

    We yearn deeply and supplicate to hear Teacher's offering in melodious praise! We pray collectively to change the world into a better place!
    We know we need to seek and supplicate for precious Dharma and thus we sincerly supplicate to hear our beloved Teacher's melodious offering of this Insightful Praise to the Triple Gems.

    Just like Teacher Zhenru had supplicated for all the pure lineage teaching of Sutras and Treatises for the Sangha and lay community from the many honorable lineage masters.
    We supplicate to hear Teacher's vocal offering of "I Pray" for the benefit of all disciples and sentient beings, to bless our Dharma cultivation, practice and hearts till we reach enlightenment.

    We pray devotely with all our hearts!
    Teacher, please hear our prayer!

    With Metta and utmost respect,

    Your humble disciple,
    Irene Lee (Singapore)

  • Nick Tsao

    Your words can either be pounding from a big bell to encourage lost souls or breezing from afar to comfort peaceful minds. These words never fade and always long-lasting. These words travel beyond time and space. These words anchor in the reincarnation world to enlighten sentient beings. I am one of them and wish, through these words, I could be released from all inflictions, because of you.

  • COLLIN CHOW 周彦锟 019 善 014 C 01

    Mega rejoice to teacher Zhen Ru

    11 Reply