These are weak minds which draw weak response and they are limited in faith, impatient in receiving, as well as ungrateful when things turn out well at last.
All these people who pray in this manner think that they have worshipped, shown faith, and love, have religious inclinations and so on, but they are not, they are far from being a practitioner of the faith and all their daily prayers are filled with wants and greed. For them it is expected that their requests should be granted otherwise disappointment is felt, for them it does not matter who their Gods should be, what the teachings should be, just that their hopes are realised and then they are ready to commit themselves to the faiths.
This is not the practice of Buddhism. There is no promise of rewards for anyone who just rely on rewards as the condition of belief, only those who deserve rewards will get them through their own sincere efforts which must also be noble and energetic. Reaping what is sown is the just Law which all people must understand and accept.
There is no supreme being who selects who should be chosen and saved or who should be cast aside and punished. This idea of such a great being is only in the feeble minds of those who are greedy for rewards, earthly or heavenly. Like a child who must be tempted and lied to, they become sheep that follow the leader who may not have truly understood the real Truth and therefore the goal of existence is lost.
Those who follow such faiths have wasted another life time and they will have to wait for future good karma to ripen in the distant future before the Buddha’s path is before them so that they need not end up in the wrong directions. To follow others whose teachings are imperfect is to live in stupidity and not exercising their own intellectuality. To follow a path that promises rewards of heavenly bliss and which assures that the punishment of hell will not affect them just by belief and no necessity of daily pure living according to moral precepts and mental development which leads to wisdom, they have followed blindly like a herd of sheep following an ignorant leader to the slaughter house. To follow a faith which brings fear of punishment without first making proper investigation of the threat, to join in a faith that is narrow in perspective which brings unhappiness to others through the various methods of coercing them to be a fellow follower, they are themselves empty of religious and spiritual values. There will not be peace of mind within them and their only happiness will rest on the support of promises and the company of ignorant friends. When disasters strike them, see how many will have their faith shattered causing them to run hither and thither to seek refuge and protection. And they will eventually end up into wrong hands again so that they will be led to other wrong paths of promises.
Be aware of this befalling you and therefore do not seek easy gains or be attracted the ways that do not require one to practise the virtues and the disciplines. Be wise and do not believe in empty promises which will lead one astray and instead of heavenly bliss, ending up with a huge mountain of evil karma which may end them in the hells or if they are fortunate, to become animals which possess minds that are stupid and unlearning, wishing to be used and to be led!
The true path is the path of that teaches peace and tranquillity, that does not condemn others unnecessary and even though they have followed inferior teachings, to bear with them for their unfortunate karma, and to try to use skilful means to cross them over. There should be no false promise of heavenly rewards by a supreme creator who demands worship and who will send down beings to the pits of hell for those who do not revere him, there should not be caused to have fear so as to trap them into the faith for such followers have feeble minds which cannot be strong or ready for the disciplines of self-cultivation and purification.
There should be the need to practise the immeasurables of kindness (loving-kindness), mercy (compassion), sympathetic joy and equanimity; that requires one to learn patience, practise charity, live in good conduct and practising mental calm. The purpose of such a person is to be a true seeker and active practitioner whose duty is to purify himself so that he may bring peace and happiness to all beings. He must be aware that it is by his own good actions of thought, speech and body that he will gain his heavenly bliss. He becomes a harmless and selfless one and will always be ready to suffer for the sake of bringing happiness to others. His prayers not only for his own well-being but include his family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, the people of his country, and better still for the happiness even for animals and insects and later to include the suffering beings of the hells who truly require his prayers of merits. He no longer distinguishes himself as special but relates himself with others, accepting them to have been his father, mother, wife, children, brother, sister and so on. The world then becomes one big family and he cares for them all so that he yearns to help them out of the suffering, so that his prayers will end with a sincere wish that all beings be happy.
And realising that he is quite helpless to do much more than he wishes to do, he goes about practising virtuous deeds as often as he can and reducing all non-virtuous acts that cause suffering to others, he practises the perfections of charity, patience, energy, mindfulness and wisdom, he seeks to become a greater being who is perfected in all virtues so that he is able to save others from the sufferings of delusion by bringing them to the path of wisdom and happiness. He perfects himself and becomes enlightened and yet refuses to accept the fruits of enlightenment, he accepts the status of Bodhisattvahood to help all beings!
Thursday, 11th April 1985
2nd Moon, 22nd Day