Author Topic: The 7 limbs prayer  (Read 8612 times)

hope rainbow

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The 7 limbs prayer
« on: March 02, 2012, 07:57:21 AM »
As Buddhist, we all do 7 limbs prayers every day, but do we know what the 7 limbs are and do we know the non-virtues or poisons that they are remedies for?

Here are the seven limbs:
1.  HOMAGE
2. OFFERINGS
3. CONFESSION
4. REJOYCING
5. REQUESTING FOR TEACHINGS
6. PETITIONING THE LAMA TO REMAIN
7. DEDICATING

So my questions to the forum is this:

1. Ecah limb is an antidote to a destructive state of mind, do you know which ones?

2. Which limb is the easiest for you to relate to?

3. Why was the tibetan term translated into english as "limb"? Isn't that peculiar...

yontenjamyang

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 10:54:48 AM »
Interesting topic hope rainbow.

My answers to the questions are:

1) Homage overcomes pride
2) Offerings overcomes miserliness
3) Confession overcomes all 3 poisons of attachment, hatred and ignorance
4) Rejoicing overcomes jealousy
5) Requesting the Teachings overcomes our wrong views and negative karma we have created from our negative actions towards the Buddhas and Gurus.
6) Petitioning the Lama to Remain overcomes negatives actions of abandoning the Dharma.
7) Dedication overs the power of our anger to destroy the merits of our good actions we dedicate.

All sentient beings has all 7 "problems". For me it is anger and 3 poisons, so Dedication and Confession, are the most helpful but without the other limbs to support it will not be complete.

The 7 seven limbs are called "limbs" denoting support for our prayers or meditation or any Dharma activities. Just like limbs support our physical body, these limbs support our prayers to accumulate merits and purify negativities.


hope rainbow

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 07:50:02 AM »
1) Homage overcomes pride
2) Offerings overcomes miserliness
3) Confession overcomes all 3 poisons of attachment, hatred and ignorance
4) Rejoicing overcomes jealousy
5) Requesting the Teachings overcomes our wrong views and negative karma we have created from our negative actions towards the Buddhas and Gurus.
6) Petitioning the Lama to Remain overcomes negatives actions of abandoning the Dharma.
7) Dedication overs the power of our anger to destroy the merits of our good actions we dedicate.

Hi YJ, thanks for the reply.
I have some questions and observations...

(3) How can confession be an antidote to the 3 poisons? Aren't all limbs an antidote to the 3 poisons? Why confession in particular... That is a point that I had found difficult to elucidate, for it seems, we can continue acting with the 3 poisons BECAUSE we can simply confess afterwards so it makes the 3 poisons "OK", since we can always confess afterwards. With that view then how come confession is an antidote to the 3 poisons?

(5) Requesting the teachings overcome our wrong view = the view that considers the teachings to be useless or wrong. Thus indeed how could we possibly have the mind to request for teachings that we consider wrong? So when we request for teachings, it is with a mindset that cannnot possibly see the teachings as wrong, thus ANTIDOTE!

(6) Petitiioning the Lama to remain counters the mind that even inadvertently disparage the Lama. the same mouth cannot at the same time disparage the Lama and ask the Lama to remain, this is contradictory, thus the mindset we generate in asking the Lama to remain is an ANTIDOTE to a mindset that would think ill of the Lama. Everytime we request, everytime we generate the mindset to petition the Lama to remain we build up a better mind, and we create further causes for our Guru devotion to be strengthened.

(7) How is dedication an antidote to anger? With which logic would you explain it?

ratanasutra

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2012, 06:19:05 PM »
Hi Hope Rainbow,

Thanks for your explanation.

(3) How can confession be an antidote to the 3 poisons?
Because the 3 poisons which are ignorant, hated and desire are the root cause of the non-virtuous actions but only confess about it then repeat again, definitely can't antidote the 3 poisons, so one must do the practice of four opponent powers as well so that we didn't repeat the non-virtuous again.

 A complete purification practice consists of four opponent powers:

1. The power of regret for having done the negative action.

2. The power of reliance: taking refuge, which restores our relationship with holy objects, and generating the altruistic intention, which restores our relationship with other sentient beings.

3. The power of the remedial action, e.g. prostration, offering, reciting the names of the Buddha, reading or contemplating the Dharma, etc.

4. The power of the promise not to repeat the action. 


(7) How is dedication an antidote to anger? With which logic would you explain it?
we have anger and we want to hurt people or wish people to get hurt, we do dedication because we wish to dedicate all merits to all sentient beings and we wish all sentient beings to have happiness.
Of course, we could not do dedication if we still anger with someone, just imagine because of you still have an anger with someone so when you do dedication, you dedicate all merits to all sentient beings EXCEPT the person you have anger, is it logic? is it possible?   


hope rainbow

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 10:35:02 AM »
2. The power of reliance: taking refuge, which restores our relationship with holy objects, and generating the altruistic intention, which restores our relationship with other sentient beings.

Spot on!

There are only 2 types of beings that we can possibly sin towards:
a) enlightened beings
b) sentient beings

So we repair our sins towards enlightened beings by " restoring our relationship with holy objects" through taking them as refuge, thus recognizing their qualities.
And we repair our sins towards sentient beings by dedicating ALL our efforts towards them through Bodhicitta!

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 03:19:56 AM »
3) How can confession be an antidote to the 3 poisons? Aren't all limbs an antidote to the 3 poisons? Why confession in particular... That is a point that I had found difficult to elucidate, for it seems, we can continue acting with the 3 poisons BECAUSE we can simply confess afterwards so it makes the 3 poisons "OK", since we can always confess afterwards. With that view then how come confession is an antidote to the 3 poisons? ( Frm HR)

I believe the reason the full explanation of the 4 powers is not given in the 7 limbs is because it is implicit in the term confession. A better word is probably repentance.
To confess , reveal or own up to one's negative actions is the starting point of the whole process of purification which follows.
The owning up manifest as regret knowing th eharm we have caused to others and ourselves. This level of regret is not easy to generate as it requires wisdom and strong belief in past and future lives and  karma.
If its not  genuine and total, it will be difficult for us to complete the other 3 powers esp the resolve to never repeat it again.

yontenjamyang

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 09:44:00 AM »
Hi Hope Rainbow,

Thanks for your explanation.

(3) How can confession be an antidote to the 3 poisons?
Because the 3 poisons which are ignorant, hated and desire are the root cause of the non-virtuous actions but only confess about it then repeat again, definitely can't antidote the 3 poisons, so one must do the practice of four opponent powers as well so that we didn't repeat the non-virtuous again.

 A complete purification practice consists of four opponent powers:

1. The power of regret for having done the negative action.

2. The power of reliance: taking refuge, which restores our relationship with holy objects, and generating the altruistic intention, which restores our relationship with other sentient beings.

3. The power of the remedial action, e.g. prostration, offering, reciting the names of the Buddha, reading or contemplating the Dharma, etc.

4. The power of the promise not to repeat the action. 


(7) How is dedication an antidote to anger? With which logic would you explain it?
we have anger and we want to hurt people or wish people to get hurt, we do dedication because we wish to dedicate all merits to all sentient beings and we wish all sentient beings to have happiness.
Of course, we could not do dedication if we still anger with someone, just imagine because of you still have an anger with someone so when you do dedication, you dedicate all merits to all sentient beings EXCEPT the person you have anger, is it logic? is it possible?

I would like to answer that dedication is done in order to avoid the merits generated by the virtuous act to be destroyed by answer or holding wrong views. If we dedicate, then it is like we are banking in our merits to others (depending on who we are dedicating it to) and when we have anger, we have nothing to be destroyed.

For a more in dept explanation, please read the Lamrim. It said that the most important thing when doing a virtuous deed is motivation and dedication. 

yontenjamyang

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 09:46:27 AM »
Sorry. Typo. "answer" should read "anger".

Positive Change

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 02:28:38 PM »

(3) How can confession be an antidote to the 3 poisons?
Because the 3 poisons which are ignorant, hated and desire are the root cause of the non-virtuous actions but only confess about it then repeat again, definitely can't antidote the 3 poisons, so one must do the practice of four opponent powers as well so that we didn't repeat the non-virtuous again.

Come to think of it, someone who is convinced of the righteousness of a non-virtuous action would never confess sincerely!

If in my mind I can justify the act of killing, or lying, or stealing, etc... then  how could I possibly "confess"?
 
On the contrary, I could even go about tell others what I did it to get recognition for it and it would be my "trophy." - Delusion!

Example:
I have killed Hitler.
In my mind that killing was justified.
In my mind that killing is still justified.
Then why on earth would I confess this act? It is not logical.

So I understand "confession" to be an antidote to the 3 poisons like this:

3 poisons:
-ignorance
-desire
-hatred

We need to STOP justifying our non-virtuous act!

I have come to the realisation that my mind was blinded by desire, by hatred or by ignorance in justifying my action.

I realize that desire, hatred and ignorance are not foundations that can validate an action of killing, stealing, lying, etc...

Only then can I start a process leading to a confession.
So I think this is how a SINCERE confession is an antidote to the 3 poisons, for it makes wisdom win, for once, against ignorance (ignorance being the root of the other 2 poisons).

Confession is simply IMPOSSIBLE if we are not our self stepping onto the 3 poisons just like in the representations of Heruka or Vajrayogini.

RedLantern

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Re: The 7 limbs prayer
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2012, 11:43:16 PM »
Prayers are ways of guiding our thoughts and energy in a certain direction,a technique in helping us transform our mind.The seven limb prayer helps us to purify our negative emotions and actions and to accumulate a wealth of positive potential.From prostrations,offerings,confessing to requesting our teacher to teach and to stay,this concise yet simple prayer ia a powerful tool for our daily practice.
For a person dedicated to developing his or her Buddha potential,prayers and the activities of daily life compliment each other.