Question: Is it alright to pray to several Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the same request, or must we only pray to one? For example, when sick, can we pray for the blessings of Guanyin Bodhisattva, Amitabha Buddha (Amituofo) and Medicine Master Buddha at the same time?
Answer: Although it is not harmful to pray to more than one Buddha or Bodhisattva for the same wish, it is more effective to choose one for focus. This is because such focus more easily expresses concentration of sincerity, thus resulting in a stronger connection. This contrasts with having unfounded fear that praying to one is not enough, thus having weaker connections despite trying to connect to more. When connected to one sincerely, all the other Buddhas and (great) Bodhisattvas will naturally be connected to collectively as well, as they are part of the universal Dharmakaya.
As an example, Nianfo (practice of mindfulness of Amituofo’s name) is not just for reaching Pure Land, as this facilitates healing too, according to the ‘Sutra Spoken By the Buddha On The Fundamental Esoteric Spiritual Mantra Of Amita Buddha’ (佛说阿弥陀佛根本秘密神咒经):
‘If there are sentient beings, who hear [learn] of Amita[bha] Buddha’s [Amituofo] inconceivable merits, rejoice enthusiastically, with an [utmost] sincere heart [mind] recite [his name], with profound faith and without laxity, thereupon manifesting in one’s body, [will be the] experience of incomparable bliss. Or [this can] transform poverty and lowliness, to gain of wealth and status. Or gain of the fruit of being exempted from being pursued by the suffering of sickness and adversity from past [negative] karma. Or transform a short lifespan, to gain of a lengthened life.’
Of course, the ultimate, complete and lasting healing is attained by reaching Amituofo’s Pure Land at the end of this life, where there will no more suffering from birth, ageing, sickness and death, with attainment of immeasurable life for the swiftest advancement towards Buddhahood.
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