When my father passed away in 2002 I was totally new to Buddhism and, even though I had been brought up in a Christian family, the idea of offering someone’s name for prayers didn’t have any meaning for me. I was attending a Rigpa retreat in Australia a week after my father died and a few people said “Oh! Have you put him on the prayer list?”. I didn’t get the point. I couldn’t comprehend how writing my father’s name on a piece of paper would help him or me.
Fifteen years later when my mother died, it was a totally different experience! By then I had practised Buddhism a little bit and had heard so many people say how they felt so supported having a group of Buddhist practitioners pray for them or people close to them. It brought them a sense of ease, support and possibly even adding purpose in a difficult time. So when my mother became terminally ill, I immediately put her name on the prayer list! The mere thought of having this group of practitioners praying for her and my family was an incredible support! It felt like having a secret army behind us giving us strength and love!
It’s all about the intention! In the Catholic tradition people often light a candle and make a prayer when visiting a church, and it is really the intention that brings the benefit. We don’t have to be Buddhist or follow any religion to ask for prayers for ourselves or someone close to us. We can request prayers with the intention that it will provide whatever kind of positive support we find meaningful.
If you would like to request prayers from practitioners in Rigpa: