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The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practiceby Thich Nhat Hanh
Synopses & Reviews
Arguing that prayer is not about asking some external force to fulfill needs, this book introduces several methods of prayer, which are meditative in nature and re-envision prayer as an inclusive, accessible practice that is not tied to a particular religious or spiritual affiliation.
"Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master and author of more than 60 books, asks: 'Why is prayer successful at some times and not at others?' Other questions also animate this brief primer on prayer: How can we pray for healing, say from lung cancer, when that disease is the natural karmic result of our own choices (e.g., smoking)? And to whom do we pray, especially since Buddhism teaches that there is no separate, distinct being called God who exists apart from creation? Hanh has a winning style, nimbly mixing deep philosophy with personal anecdotes and helpful illustrations. He also introduces spiritual practices, including the expected (reciting sutras, bowing, or performing walking and sitting meditation) as well as the unusual and ecumenical (praying to the living as well as the dead.) He also dissects the Lord's Prayer line by line. The book closes with five simple meditation exercises to increase awareness and calm, and some short Buddhist prayers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In order to understand why people pray, The Energy of Prayer examines the applications and effectiveness of prayer in Buddhist and other spiritual traditions. Arguing that prayer is not about asking some external force for what we need, but about creating an internal environment in which it is easier to get what we want, the book introduces several methods of prayer. These methods are meditative in nature and reenvision prayer as an inclusive, accessible practice that is not tied to a particular religious or spiritual affiliation, but rather that can help anyone create a healthy life through the power of awareness and intention. Ultimately, author Thich Nhat Hanh presents prayer as more than just relaxation: is it a way to satisfy the basic human need to make a connection with something larger than our everyday self. Included are visualization and breathing exercises as well as a rich sampling of prayers, chants, and invocations from the Buddhist tradition.
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