A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Meditation or Prayer?

One of the biggest differences in the approach to gaining answers to life’s problems between a Christian and a Buddhist, is a Christian prays while a Buddhist meditates. This is not to say that Christian’s don’t meditate or that Buddhist’s don’t pray, but what is the predominate method for each.

Prayer is you saying what you are looking for. If it is help for someone, a cure for a health problem, or wisdom. It is an action to communicate with God. It may be a prayer of worship, of supplication, or of thanksgiving. It may be done silently, vocally or in some cases chanted. To use a communication analogy, you are the television station radiating waves outward.

Meditation is listening, to gain understanding or wisdom. This is accomplished by, the quieting of unnecessary thought, to focus the mind until a higher level of consciousness is arrived at. Meditation usually has a focus, by invoking  a feeling of compassion for example, or  focusing on an object to allow the mind to be calmed. Once the mind has reached a calm state then, the mind may be directed to the issue of concern.

Regardless of which you choose, it is more important, that what you focus your thoughts on be worthy. Praying to win the lottery, or mediating to get the winning numbers is not a good use for either. I know those of us who have purchased lottery tickets in the past always say we will do good with the money. But what was your first thought, if you won, a vacation, perhaps a new home, or car, or was it feeding the homeless in the region where you live? Pray or meditate that someone be healed, or comforted, that peace become the normal state of affairs in the world, that our environment be healed.

If we are going to focus our minds energy through meditation or prayer, let us make positive change our goal.


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