In the Catholic tradition, we pray for everyone: for the newborn (so that he may grow in God’s goodness and protection), for newlyweds (that they may grow in love and support together in deeper love and devotion to Jesus Christ), for those who are sick (to become well or to cope with the eventualities), in need of spiritual guidance, for people’s souls when they have died (that they may be in eternal rest with Jesus), and so on. In the Buddhist tradition do we also pray to help those we care for? Will we have to pay for it later with bearing some affliction?
Also, I noticed that when I requested 2 Medicine Master plaques recently, I became a little sick with cold sores in my mouth (which I still have), headaches, and so forth. Is that a result because of my requests?
VS, Long Beach, CA
Yes the Buddhists also pray for others. We do it slightly differently. We believe in giving away all the goodness we generate from our cultivation to benefit all living beings. This is the cornerstone of our Buddhist practice because it reflects the Mahayana spirit of helping all living beings. At times, we also dedicate the merit and virtue of our practice to specific individuals to help them overcome temporary setbacks like illnesses and misfortunes etc… When doing so, we are able to provide help to the extent of our ability but will also incur some consequences for meddling into other people’s affairs.
As to the Medicine Master Buddha Dharma that is available through the temple, it allows people to meddle without incurring any direct consequences.
You minor illnesses are coincidental and are not related to those plaques. You can be rest assured that it is the case for of that Dharma.
Funny that I have been reviewing the Earth Sore Sutra explanation and happened upon a passage that pertains to your situation when I took a break. I came back and found your email. What a coincidence! I’ll include it for your early reference:
The Buddha says the four things that cannot be obtained sutra 佛說四不可得經: the world has four things that cannot be obtained:
- To have a youthful appearance 年幼, 顏色煒燁, to be loved and respected by the multitudes 眾人愛敬. One suddenly ages, the hair becomes white and the teeth fall. Those who wish for the fountain of youth 欲使常少不老, ultimately cannot obtain it 終不可得.
- One’s body is healthy and strong 身體強健. Illnesses suddenly befall those who are healthy 為謂毫強疾病卒至˙眾患難癒. Those wishing for permanent peace and no illnesses 欲免常安無病, will not obtain it 終不可得.
- Desiring for long life 欲求長壽. The five desires are still raging like the wind blowing at the clouds 五欲永存˙非常對至˙如風吹雲. Those wishing for long life 冀念長生 will not get what they want 終不可得.
- To have the parents and siblings’ love, honor and happiness 父母兄弟˙恩愛榮樂. When one’s past karmas suddenly arrive 宿對卒至. It’s like hot water melts the snow 如湯消雪. Those who wish for immortality 欲求不死 will not obtain it.
Since the ancient times, throughout the creation of the heavens and earth, there is no way to avoid these four misfortunes. Because of these four difficulties, Buddhas appear in world. If one wishes to escape these four sufferings, there is nothing better than reciting the Buddha’s name.