Why interfaith?

Nasruddin

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The trouble with 'prayer' is that most of us are taught how to pray as kids (if at all) and never really question what prayer actually is.

I would say if prayer is the same as every other activity, then it's not prayer. Prayer is something specific, which is why it has its own name.

Thoughts from Frithjof Schuon:
Completely agree.
Though, not to be disrespectful or flippant, I did read this sentence in the voice of Lewis Black. (emphasis mine)
 

Thomas

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Completely agree... I did read this sentence...
Well, it's mine, but I wouldn't call it a unique insight :D The assumption that A is the same as B because there are seeming similarities is not uncommon, but I have no idea who Lewis Black is? (Is he the one who lists first on a well-known search engine?)

The Orthodox Tradition has much to say on The Jesus Prayer, and the journey from the Prayer of Jesus to the Prayer of the Heart, when the person becomes the prayer; when prayer is continuous; when the person is prayer, as it were.

The Way of the Pilgrim has been one of the most widely disseminated handbooks on prayer in the West. Written by a Russian Orthodox religious, it's become a spiritual classic, but it's not without its pitfalls, and some monastics actually perceive errors in the text which are potentially dangerous.
 

RJM

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'The important thing to grasp here is that actualisation of the consciousness of the Absolute, namely the “remembrance of God” or “prayer,” insofar as it brings about a fundamental confrontation of creature and Creator, anticipates every station on the two axes. It is already a death and a meeting with God and it places us already in Eternity...'
The trouble with 'prayer' is that most of us are taught how to pray as kids (if at all) and never really question what prayer actually is.
Submission. Humility ... imo
 
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Nasruddin

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Well, it's mine, but I wouldn't call it a unique insight :D The assumption that A is the same as B because there are seeming similarities is not uncommon, but I have no idea who Lewis Black is? (Is he the one who lists first on a well-known search engine?)

The Orthodox Tradition has much to say on The Jesus Prayer, and the journey from the Prayer of Jesus to the Prayer of the Heart, when the person becomes the prayer; when prayer is continuous; when the person is prayer, as it were.

The Way of the Pilgrim has been one of the most widely disseminated handbooks on prayer in the West. Written by a Russian Orthodox religious, it's become a spiritual classic, but it's not without its pitfalls, and some monastics actually perceive errors in the text which are potentially dangerous.
Lewis Black is an American humorist who comments on politics and the social condition. He's known for his angry rants that make people laugh at what is normally a sad situation. I understand he's been quite busy lately processing all this material.

Years ago I listened to a pastor that taught the only prayer is "Thy will be done", and it made sense to surrender to the great mystery. When I began to practice Buddhism, prayer was considered by my teacher a means of entering into another state. I've often thought of prayer this way. I have nothing to tell the universe, but I have so much to understand it seems silence and devoted attention is the only thing I can offer.
 
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wil

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Prayer is specific? Lol, as specific as each region is in their nuance.

What is specific? The words? The cadence? The body position? The touch of the jam when you cross the threshold? Prostrating on the way to Mecca?

I'd say prayer is religiously cultural.

Like the missionaries on one Island who heard the heathens on the next Island and rowed their boats over there and taught them the proper way to pray. The missionaries rowed back to their Island and the very next morning I heard this noise on the water. They looked up and saw half the pagans running across the water towards their Island. They stood with their jaws open as these guys ran up onto the beach, and said, "can you tell us how to pray again we forgot and we're doing it wrong"
 

Nasruddin

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Prayer is specific? Lol, as specific as each region is in their nuance.

What is specific? The words? The cadence? The body position? The touch of the jam when you cross the threshold? Prostrating on the way to Mecca?

I'd say prayer is religiously cultural.

Like the missionaries on one Island who heard the heathens on the next Island and rowed their boats over there and taught them the proper way to pray. The missionaries rowed back to their Island and the very next morning I heard this noise on the water. They looked up and saw half the pagans running across the water towards their Island. They stood with their jaws open as these guys ran up onto the beach, and said, "can you tell us how to pray again we forgot and we're doing it wrong"
You know there are versions of that story in many cultures. My friend from China tells of a woman who said her prayers every day and each day a rainbow would appear over her hut. One day, a traveling monk visited with her, and told her that she wasn't saying the prayers correctly and gave her the correct words to say. She was grateful to the monk and began to say the new prayer as he bid her farewell. From the road away from the village, he looked back at her hut and noticed that the rainbow was no longer there, so he went back to her hut and told her to continue praying as she had before.
 

wil

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pastor that taught the only prayer is "Thy will be done
I've argued this before.

I came to the conclusion that you can pray for a hurricane to stop, the pandemic to be over, my cancer cured or money in the bank account....

But all in all it seems to me you are saying, "Yo G!d, I know you're the omniscient omnipotent all-powerful all-knowing made the world in 7 days most amazing thing there is...but hey right here you screwed up and I know how to fix it
 

wil

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I'd say it's the heart/soul that prays. Any religion, any time, any place.
Our thoughts are prayers...

For years I kept a card in my wallet..."would I be pleased if what I was thinking right now manifested in front of me."

That changed my stinking thinking quite a bit.
 
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RJM

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Our thoughts are prayers...
I'm not sure, wil. Perhaps our thoughts can be prayers. But the prayer is happening at a level of soul yearning deeper than ego thought? It's the heart saying: "I can't do this. Only you can do this."

In a way prayer is allowing God to take over completely? I don't know.
 
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wil

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Perhaps our thoughts can be prayers.
If ya believe G!d knows the number of stars in the sky and hairs on your head..AND all your thoughts...if it's a sin to lust in your heart and you'll be punished for coveting the neighbors wife or cow...

"Oh p'shaw Father...I was just Josh in, I didn't mean it, don't ya know sarcasm when you hear it?"
 
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Thomas

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Prayer is specific? Lol, as specific as each region is in their nuance.
Superficially yeah, but you have to get past cultural and social expressions, and begin to interrogate what prayer is, the principles is the same.

I'd say prayer is religiously cultural.
And yet hands in prayer is universal ...
 

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I've argued this before.
I remember seeing a pop-celebrity extolling the virtues of Buddhist chanting when Buddhist chanting was today's hip religious thing to do. He thought it was fantastic. He told the audience how he chanted for a new Porsche, and, would you believe it, he got one! Buddhist chanting really works!

But that's just an example of error, I don't assume it's a viable critique of Buddhism, or offers anything in the way of understanding prayer.
 

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Deep calleth unto deep
Ps42:7
 

Nasruddin

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I remember seeing a pop-celebrity extolling the virtues of Buddhist chanting when Buddhist chanting was today's hip religious thing to do. He thought it was fantastic. He told the audience how he chanted for a new Porsche, and, would you believe it, he got one! Buddhist chanting really works!

But that's just an example of error, I don't assume it's a viable critique of Buddhism, or offers anything in the way of understanding prayer.
I've met people who believe chanting the diamond sutra will increase their wealth. Kinda Ironic.
 

wil

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Superficially yeah, but you have to get past cultural and social expressions, and begin to interrogate what prayer is, the principles is the same.


And yet hands in prayer is universal ...


Well for the kids in the front lay it out.

What is the universal act of prayer?

I am sure the kids in the back will all nod in agreement.
 

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Well for the kids in the front lay it out.
See the three citations in #38 above, specifically the third — quintessential prayer.

Schuon is addressing a monotheist audience, but it's not too great a stretch to read them from a non-theist perspective.
 
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