A festival of reflection

A festival of reflection


The Loy Krathong festival will be celebrated today and many people will head to rivers, canals and ponds to float their beautifully decorated krathong.

This is a favourite activity for everyone. Considering the fact that all the krathong end up being garbage waiting to be collected out of the water the next day, some may turn to floating a virtual krathong online instead. Me too.

However, I have nothing against anyone who is planning to float a real krathong in the river. It's a wonderful tradition to worship water spirits and show respect to Buddha. It's also on this occasion that people will make a prayer before releasing krathong which are believed to help float away troubles.

It's common for people to only ask holy spirits to help drive away bad things from their lives and bring them fortune, overlooking the truth that everyone can have a good life only if they choose to walk a good path.

Recently, I came across a list of 10 prayers that Acharn Sujib Punyanubhab, one of the most prolific Buddhist scholars of the 20th century, brought up and used as a guidance to remind and instruct himself.

If you want to know what an intellectual man known for having contributed a great deal to Buddhism throughout his lifetime would pray for, here's a summary of 10 of his prayers.

Prayer 1: Let me not be a person who only wishes for good things and waits for good luck, without getting down to do good deeds or striving to make progress for myself. If I'm going to get any merit, it should be because I've done a good thing to deserve it.

Prayer 2: Let me not be a person who forgets myself and despises anyone who might be inferior in position, financial status or knowledge. Let me always be understanding, respectful and gentle.

Prayer 3: If anyone makes a mistake or suffers affliction for any reason, let me not trample on them but be kind to help ease their suffering as much as I can.

Prayer 4: If whoever is equally knowledgeable and capable to me or has an outstanding performance of higher and more honourable excellence than me, let me not feel jealous or worried about their prosperity at all. Let me sincerely rejoice in their remarkable qualities and support them and let me have a pure heart to praise a person who deserves it.

Prayer 5: Let me stay spiritually strong and patient when facing hardships, without whining and begging for holy help. Let me not seek refuge without relying on myself nor become a person who looks for privileges or indecent shortcuts.

Prayer 6: If I work somewhere, let me not take advantage of my workplace or look for personal gains. Let me be diligent and satisfied at working for good results. In case I accidentally use any office materials for my personal affairs, let me feel in debt and find a way to repay them or work longer hours as a compensation. In the same way, let me not take advantage of the nation but be willing to give back in the form of donations to hospitals, schools or public charities.

Prayer 7: Let me not be ambitious or hungry for fame and power but desire peace and a simple life, without having to compete with others. But, this doesn't mean that when I am at peace, I would live lazily. I know well that Buddhism doesn't teach people to be lazy but persevere to make progress without being tied to ambition.

Prayer 8: Let me diligently cultivate loving kindness and a sense of compassion to always help others out of suffering to the point where I can't see an enemy in anyone. Also, let my benevolence goes far to help both humans and animals.

Prayer 9: Let me not be easily angry or hurt anyone. Instead, let me come to my senses quickly and train myself to relieve my anger and get back to normal. Let me be a forgiving person who doesn't seek revenge.

Prayer 10: Let me have knowledge to teach myself about the principles of Buddhism, which aims to elevate our minds to a higher level of wisdom to achieve both worldly and spiritual prosperity. Let me able to practise accordingly and guide my human fellows to happiness.

Honestly, this is the most perfect set of prayers I've ever read and I believe many are feeling the same. Instead of demanding good things to miraculously happen to him, Acharn Sujib was determined to train himself to get rid of every possible flaw he might have and tried to cultivate virtues to his life.

He passed away peacefully in 2000, at the age of 83, but his name commands great respect and admiration from a large number of Thais to this day. This says something about the magic of prayers he left us.

I wish that people will get inspired by his valuable legacy and make their Loy Krathong meaningful tonight.

Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Patcharawalai Sanyanusin


Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.

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