Becca Anderson, author of The Buddha’s Guide to Gratitude, has a few inspiring words on the practice of prayer.
Photo by Simon Wilkes on unsplash.com
From charitable acts to sacred gifts offered to deities, offerings are prominent in many religions and are used as a way to become more in touch with one’s spirituality. Traditional spiritual and religious offerings often involve giving something specific to a deity in order to invoke the deity for various purposes. This doesn’t just involve Pagan altars and ancient blood sacrifices though—other similar practices involve lighting a candle for a deceased loved one at your place of worship or giving alms, as in the practices of Dāna and Zakat.
However, at the core of all of these practices is putting intention into a thought or prayer and taking an action involving a material substance to strengthen it. A more modern implementation of this concept could involve giving to charity, opening your home to someone in need, or releasing negative emotions or energies. These and similar actions are believed to contribute positively to your karma and can help you become more in touch with your spirituality, beliefs, or religion.
The Buddha’s Guide to Gratitude
The Life-changing Power of Every Day Mindfulness (Stillness, Shakyamuni Buddha, for Readers of You are here by Thich Nhat Hanh)
According to Buddha, “You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.” Being thankful is one of the most powerful tools we humans have to attain peace of mind and a measure of happiness. As it turns out, Buddha had quite a lot to say on the subject of gratitude, including citing it as one of the four keys to the Gate of Heaven. Why is this? Perhaps the sheer simplicity of gratefulness is large part of this as it is available to all of us at any time. Even in the midst of over busyness, stress and chaos, we can find plenty to be glad about. Take time to stop each day and count your blessings. This can be a prayer or mindfulness mediation, whichever works for you. Yet, this lovely, uncomplicated approach may well change your life.