Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prayer for Peace — Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan monks create a sand mandala.

Tibetan Buddhism

This year as we pray for peace each week, we are learning about and pondering the many religious traditions that span the globe.  Today our thoughts turn to Tibetan Buddhism.  Buddhism is a non-theistic religion whose teachings and practices are traced back to Siddhartha Gautama — commonly known as the Buddha (or “the awakened one”)  who developed a system of beliefs aimed at allowing individuals to end their suffering by eliminating ignorance and cravings.  These teachings are encapsulated in the “Four Noble Truths” of the Buddha, which are: (1) All things and states are unsatisfying, (2) nevertheless we crave and cling to these things and states and are continuously reborn, (3) if we cease craving and clinging, we won’t be reborn, (4) we can achieve an end to the unsatisfactory conditions by following the Buddhist path of behaving decently, not acting on impulses, practicing mindfulness and meditation.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.  Buddhism came to Tibet a millennium later and ultimately became established as the state religion in 8th century CE.  Since that time, it has developed some distinct characteristics from other branches of the religion.  The most famous of these is the system of incarnate lamas  successors to specific lineages of teachings, trained from a young age by the students of their predecessors.  The 14th Dalai Lama is the most famous of these, known for his lifelong advocacy of the Tibetan people, for which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

As we learn about the many, diverse belief systems and traditions of the world, we desire to be agents of change, promoting peace through mutual understanding.

Prayer for Peace — Gloria Mitchell, Prince Albert, SK, Canada

God, we have set this time apart to come before you with our songs and prayers of peace.

We have called you by many names: Exalted, Most High, Creator, and Holy, but whatever the name we give you pales in comparison to the works you have wrought.  You have created vast numbers of people and things we really don't know.  This awareness of our limits, our lack of understanding all you are, is reflected through our faith in your goodness and vast love.

God, we recognize our similarities when we know all people strive for a good life in whatever way they can. Creator, please bless our similarities and more specifically our differences.  Help us build bridges of love and understanding.  Help us come to fully appreciated and incorporate your greatest commandment of all: to love one another.

Our prayer this day is for peace throughout the world and peace for all people. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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