Published by: Jaico Publishing House, 2008
Why do some prayers work and others don’t? Thich Nhat Hanh provides answers to this and many such questions about prayer in his latest book.
Hanh is acclaimed as a brilliant Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and human rights activist. When you read this book you’ll know why. This is the first book by Hanh that I read, and I must say it left an indelible impression on me.
Hanh’s idea of prayer is simple, yet powerful. His basic contention is that prayers work if two conditions are fulfilled: the first is to establish a relationship between ourselves and the one we’re praying to. He explains this by equating it with an electrical cord which must be plugged in for the telephone or equipment to work.
But connection is only a necessary condition. Secondly, we also need electric power to run through it. That power is love, mindfulness and right concentration. This is what he refers to as the “energy” of prayer. Mindfulness comes from our mind and body dwelling peacefully in the present moment. When we have mindfulness and a relationship with the one we’re praying to, our prayers become effective.
The highlights of the book are the brilliant parallel between the Buddhist Prayer and the Christian Lord’s Prayer, and a chapter titled “The Role of Prayer in Medicine”.