A selection of Prayers, Readings and Blessings from different faiths, including Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim.
Abu Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Love, the words of Khalil Gibran, from his book the Prophet
‘Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
But let each one of you be alone
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Though they quiver with the same music.’
Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, unity;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Where there is darkness, light.
O Divine Master, grant that
I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that one can be born to eternal life.
Buddhist Sharing of Blessings
words are an extract from a dedication in the Path of
Bodhisattva, written by the great eight century
Indian Buddhist Monk Master Shantideva, and often referred to by His Holiness the 14th Dalia Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
May all beings everywhere
sufferings of body and mind,
Obtain an ocean
of happiness and joy
By virtue of
May the poor
Those weak with
sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn
happiness, and prosperity.
May there be
medicines be effective
prayers bear fruit.
May all who are
sick and ill
freed from their ailments.
diseases there are in the world,
May they never
May the supreme
mind of enlightenment
That has not
arisen, arise and grow,
And may that
which has arisen,
but increase more and more.
OM MANI PADME
A Hindu Poem
Forgiving is a mighty gift.
Individual reconstruction is the most important need today.
Multiply virtues, not buildings.
Practice what you preach, that is the real pilgrimage.
Cleanse your minds of envy and malice; this is the real bath in holy waters.
Of what avail is the Name of the Lord on the tongue,
if the heart within is impure?
Injustice and discontent are spreading everywhere,
due to this one single fault in humans - saying one thing and doing the opposite.
You must set yourself right and correct your food,
recreation and method of spending your leisure and your thoughts and habits.
Remove the vices of lust and hatred,
and put out the raging flames of anger and greed.
Then, innate tranquility and happiness (shantham and soukhyam) within you,
will manifest unhindered.
You are the embodiment of peace;
happiness is your very nature.
Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is
Reading from the Bhagavad-Gita and Sri Sathya Sai Sathcharithra, Holy Book for Daily Reflection.
Love is My form, Truth is My breath
Bliss is My food, My life is My message
Expansion is My life, No reason for love
No season for love, No birth, no death.
by Mary Warner Howard, based on 1 Corinthians. 13:108
Although I speak with angel’s tongue – alas,
And have not love; I am but sounding brass;
And though I have the gift of prophecy,
All knowledge know, and subtle mystery,
And though my faith a mountain could remove,
Naught profits me without redeeming love;
And though I give my goods to feed the poor –
No gift enough – I without love cannot endure;
For only love is permanent – is kind –
Of envy free – and littleness of mind;
Love never seeks its own, but suffers much;
Love never fails, but lends a healing touch;
Love will survive all things – of this I’m sure;
Love is the gift of God – divine and pure.
The Lord's Prayer - King James Version.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
A Prayer of Faith
Give courage and faith to those who are bereaved,
that they may have strength to meet the days ahead
in the comfort of a reasonable and holy hope,
in the joyful expectation of eternal
life with those they love.
The Lord Is My Shepherd, 23rd Psalm
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord for ever.
Hymn: Praise My Soul The King of Heaven.
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To his feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me his praise should sing?
Praise the everlasting King.
Praise him for his grace and favour
To our fathers in distress;
Praise him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless:
Glorious in his faithfulness.
Father-like, he tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame he knows;
In his hands he gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes:
Widely as his mercy flows.
Angels, help us to adore him;
Ye behold him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
Dwellers all in time and space:
Praise with us the God of grace.
The Holy Gospel
According to Matthew 5: 1-9
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Psalm 121 - A song of ascents
I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
John 14:1-6 Jesus Comforts His Disciples (New International Version)
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You believe in God[a]; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms;
if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father Thomas said to him,
“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.No one comes to the Father except through me."
HINDU - BHAGAVAD-GITA, AS IT IS
The following reading is from a publication by His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Founder - Acarya of the International Society for Krishna consciousness.
The Three Modes of Nature.
17. From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops, from the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion.
18. Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.
19. When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all the modes, he attains My spiritual nature.
20. Then the embodied being is able to transcend the three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.
Transition and the Life Beyond
Some words originally from the Bhagavad Gita, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold
in his poem, The Song Celestial, where Sri Krishna speaks.
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!
Nay; but as when one layeth
His worn-out robes away,
And, taking new ones, sayeth,
“These will I wear to-day!”
So putteth by the spirit
Lightly its garb to inherit
A residence afresh.
BUDDHIST - Karaniya Metta Sutta
The Buddha's Discourse of Loving Kindness. The qualities of Universal Love.
The Karaniya Metta Sutta ( 1.8) combines both the interpersonal and radiant aspects of canonical expressions of loving-kindness.
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
... Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty,
medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born –
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding....
Ref: Sutta Nipata 1.8
Explanatory Note: According to the Pāli commentaries, the Buddha originally gave this instruction (of loving-kindness meditation) to monks who were being harassed by the tree spirits of a forest in which the monks were trying to meditate.
After doing this meditation in the forest it is said that the spirits were so affected by the power of loving-kindness that they allowed the monks to stay in the forest for the duration of the rainy season.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE AT PEACE
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE IN HARMONY
MAY ALL BEINGS BE FREE OF SUFFERING
MAY ALL BEINGS BE WELL AND HAPPY