Friday, September 17, 2010

Power of Prayer

Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things.

-- Samuel M. Shoemaker

I'm not thinking here of prayer to something, just for something. In that sense, it's not really prayer, is it? No, we say "adhiṭṭhāna" in Buddhism, which means something like "determination". And that is where the power lies... not in the request, but in the determination, the resolve to see something through.

I need determination now... a small group of us here have begun to seriously attend to the task of starting up a forest monastery in the Los Angeles area. Today or tomorrow we may close a deal on a piece of property, and so we will need determination to make sure it does not fall through. It is a difficult task to start a monastery of any sort, but this might be especially difficult due to the remoteness of the place. It is our hope that in the long run the peace and solitude will work in our favour but, in the meantime, we need solid determination just to get it up and running. I make this resolve: "may this work come to fruition, may this work not be in vain."

I'm writing, though, because I do believe the power of determination extends beyond the physical, and I'm hoping there are other determined people out there who are sufficiently like-minded to exert themselves in this project with us, even mentally, sitting at home meditating. There are four types of adhiṭṭhāna:

1) paññaadhiṭṭhāna - determination based on wisdom
2) saccaadhiṭṭhāna - determination based on truth
3) cāgaadhiṭṭhāna - determination based on charitable acts
4) upasamaadhiṭṭhāna - determination based on quietude

So, I pray you, whichever of these four virtues you have accomplished, think of that and use it as a means of establishing your mind in the resolve with us: "May this work come to fruition. May this work not be in vain."

Right now, this is all that can be done; if you would like to join us in the eventual repairing and construction of the monastery, please get in touch - the time will come. It is especially important that we find a male steward who is willing to put up with me enough to live alone in the forest together. Really, I'm pretty quiet...

Oh, and here's the teaser: