I got blessed!

Yesterday was the Blue Lotus Temple Blessing for 2011. The Family and I attended this together, as we do most everything.
But I wanted to write today about what this blessing meant to me.
Do I have special powers now? Do I have deceased Monks (Angels) watching over me now? Will the Buddha take special care of me for the next year? Will I now gain wealth, happiness and peace in my life?
I have to throw myself a big fat NO right here!
I will share an explanation of Buddhist prayer first to help clarify my thought process here.

The purpose of Buddhist prayer is to awaken our inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion and wisdom rather than to petition external forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly gain. Buddhist prayer is a form of meditation; it is a practice of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative with the virtuous and points us to the blessings of Life.

For Buddhists, prayer expresses an aspiration to pull something into one’s life, like some new energy or purifying influence and share it with all beings. Likewise, prayer inspires our hearts towards wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves. It allows us to turn our hearts and minds to the beneficial, rousing our thoughts and actions towards Awakening. If we believe in something enough, it will take hold of us. In other words, believing in it, we will become what we believe. Our ability to be touched like this is evidence of the working of Great Compassion within us.

What’s more, it can a function as a form of self-talking or self-therapy in which one mentally talks through a problem, or talks through it aloud, in the hope that some new insight will come or a better decision can be made. Prayer therefore frequently has the function of being part of a decision-making process.

So you see, there is nothing magical at all in this blessing. It is a group of human beings sharing positive energy, loving kindness, mindfulness, awareness and community.
This is a beautiful thing, and it was a truly beautiful event. The presence of all the Monks and Bhikkhuni’s made for a tremendous feeling of love and compassion. It truly radiated from each and every one of them. Their chanting was moving, and vibrated with me at a level that words cannot clearly explain. Then there was the radiance of love and joy that came from the community that was there. So many people, from so many places, each with their own struggles and joys. This too resonated with me deeply.
There was a sense of giving, compassion and selflessness that I think everyone could feel.
And that, to me, kind of sums up what the blessing was all about.
We are not so separate from each other. Beyond having fingers and toes, we have all these other same qualities too. We all feel pain and we all feel joy.

So, for 2011, I have the blessing of more awareness. That I am part of a community. A community called humanity. For all of this yesterday, and all of this today, I am deeply grateful.

May you each be well, happy and peaceful.

Theruwan Saranai