View Full Version : Hands in Prayer


Orleander
01-18-09, 08:55 AM
Why do people put their hands together when they pray?

http://ac4.yt-thm-a03.yimg.com/image/47910a063da29270
http://ac4.yt-thm-a04.yimg.com/image/9111bb0c3c084602

John99
01-18-09, 08:57 AM
Focal point.

Orleander
01-18-09, 09:02 AM
That's it? They all bow heads in submission, why don't they all put their hands together then?

John99
01-18-09, 09:42 AM
I dont know as far as religious reasons, but havent you ever put your head down clasped your hands and thought?

Medicine*Woman
01-18-09, 01:59 PM
Why do people put their hands together when they pray?

http://ac4.yt-thm-a03.yimg.com/image/47910a063da29270
http://ac4.yt-thm-a04.yimg.com/image/9111bb0c3c084602
*************
M*W: I particularly like the photo of the dog. Who is it praying to, the great big bone in the sky?

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 02:03 PM
Clasped hands or placing hands one upon the other are a sign of vulnerability or deference, even humility.

Think of all the times you clasp your hands.

laladopi
01-18-09, 02:06 PM
Centering with the reflection of one's being.

(Q)
01-18-09, 02:41 PM
Think of all the times you clasp your hands.

Hmmm... each time it was usually around a hockey stick, a baseball bat or a golf club.

swarm
01-18-09, 02:49 PM
Its a tradition, but not all cultures use it.

Holding your hands up, palms out, kind of like the hollywood "hands up" pose but with the hands farther forward, is also popular.

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 02:58 PM
Hmmm... each time it was usually around a hockey stick, a baseball bat or a golf club.

Thats all? Surely there are other things you clasp more reverentially?:rolleyes:

(Q)
01-18-09, 03:13 PM
Thats all? Surely there are other things you clasp more reverentially?:rolleyes:

Well, there was this one time in Rabat with this Moroccan woman...

Michael
01-18-09, 06:11 PM
Clasping your hands together signals your defeat and submission. It probably started as begging the victor in a fight not to finish you off? Then probably the tribal elders were petitioned like this and then kings and finally Gods and Godesses.

Now it's just part of praying.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/Maria_Magdalene_praying.jpg


Bowing probably has a similar history.

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 06:17 PM
Depends on your outlook. Some people know the difference between humility and defeat

http://www.westwindcollection.com/shop/images/monk_namste_garden.jpg

http://www.thehomefoundation.com/Namaste.jpg

Apparently, there is symbolism in some cases:



The Lotus sutra describes Boddhisattva Fukyo joining his hands in reverent worship as he prayed to the inherent Buddha nature of everyone he encountered. The Lotus Sutra also states: "In facing the Buddha, we must join our hand in prayer;" "it is imperative to join our hands in prayer of wholehearted determination;" "we must show our reverence through our hands joined in prayer to hear about the path with which we are endowed;" and "we must extend greetings by respectfully joining our hands in prayer." This practise is frequently mentioned in the Lotus Sutra.
A passage from Nichiren Daishonin's "Oral Teachings" (Ongi Kuden) states, "Joining our hands in prayer is an alternative expression for the Lotus Sutra." (Shinpen Gosho, p.1734)
Principles such as "Body and Mind", "the Mystic Law", and "Buddhahood and the nine worlds" are all represented in the way we jopin our hands:
The ten worlds are entirely enclosed in the two characters for joining our hands in prayer. All worldly phenomena are contained in the hands joined in prayer.(Ibid.)
The Daishonin also says in the Gosho, "Observations of the Shingon", "The symbolism of joining the hands in prayer is that of the true entity of all phenomena." (Shinpen Gosho, p.612)
Another passage states:
The two characters for joining the hands in prayer are contained in all phenomena. The entities of hell and hunger, respectively, and all the laws of the three-thousand worlds in their present condition join their hands in prayer and face the Buddha. (Shinpen Gosho, p.1734)
This excerpt teaches us that when we, the common mortals of the nine worlds, join our hands in prayer with sincere determination in faith and face the Gohonzon, we become entities who manifest the principles of the "mutual possession of the ten worlds" (jikai goku), the "actual three-thousand realms contained in a single life moment" (ichinen sanzen), and the "attainment of Buddhahood in our present form" (sokushin jobutsu).
Joining our hands in prayer is immediately synonymous with understanding our lives. (Ibid.)
When we pray and devote ourselves to the Gohonzon, we manifest the principle: "Buddhahood is inherent within the nine worlds". Our existences, as we join our hands in prayer, facing the Buddha and chanting Daimoku, are the very manifestation of enlightenment.
Nichiren Shoshu explains the meaning of joining our hands in prayer in the following way: our wholehearted determination is represented by the eight petals of the lotus flower. this is also called the "lotus of the heart" or the "white lotus", and it represents our Buddha nature when we join our hands in prayer. The eight petals are reprented by our eight fingers, and the two thumbs symbolize father and mother or the principles of reality and wisdom and "practicing for spiritual stability and wisdom". It is also said that the ten digits portray the concept of three thousand realms inherent in the ten worlds, and by joining the fingers and palms, we achieve the mutual possession of the ten worlds.
Bringing the joined hands to the chest represents the white lotus of one's heart (determination). Fusing the two entities of body and mind and chanting Daimoku actualizes the principles of "the three categories of action are in themselves the three properties", and "the actual three thousand realms in a single life-moment", and "the Buddha of the entity of the Law".

http://www.geocities.com/hokkekofinland/NICHIRENSHOSHU27.html

Michael
01-18-09, 06:25 PM
We're talking about a time when we were near-monkey's. It may be that humility hadn't even developed as an experience.


But, really, maybe you are right, it's hard to say what proto-humans were like.


Certainly other animals lower the heads to signal defeat. Wolves for example. A female Lioness. This is clearly related to bowing and bowing seems a lot like prayer. People to this day use FEAR as one means to get other people to worship Gods. You know, say 5 prayers a day towards mecca or piss of the God and maybe see hellfire... that sort of thing.

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 06:26 PM
Who's "we"? Speak for yourself. I was never a monkey, or even a near one. The OP asked about people who folded hands in prayer. Muslims btw, rarely fold hands, we have an open palm gesture.

http://farissyahmi.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/making-dua-sept-28-baghdad-ap-photo-ahmed-alhussaney.jpg

Generally, after saying prayers, the ritual is to run your palms over your own face before turning to your neighbor to say PBWY. Some people say, this is the way of using the dua to affirm yourself [by using it on yourself] and then to affirm your kinship, by bending towards both neighbors.

In which case, if I make du'a for someone else, I run the palms of my hands over their head and face [some people extend this to upper arms and body]

Michael
01-18-09, 07:14 PM
I mean the human species.


If we imagine a wolf, imagine it bested in a fight, then lowing it's head in submission, this may also release the chemicals needed to put said wolf in a submissive frame of mind. It may be that humans voluntarily submitting does this as well. I can see how this may accompany a release of anxiety (so that the wolf truly has submitted, it's own biology may act here to save it - releasing the needed chemicals to truly calm it down). Evolutionarily this makes sense IMO. So, it may be that John99 is correct, it is a focal point, and you may be right as well, it may be associated with humility. Social adaptations of a biological defeat response. Now adapted towards meditation.

I could imagine this could even become a chemical addiction. The strong desire to meditate may be to release these chemicals and feel relaxed. The strong desire to pray 7 times a day kind of like people's need to drink 7 cups of java.

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 07:16 PM
I suppose evolution only occurs in the western context.

Michael
01-18-09, 07:26 PM
There's a biological bases for prayer SAM. Why else would human's do it? There were never Greek Gods, yet people prayed to them. Allah is make believe yet you pray. Right? Yes, right.

There is an evolutionary context and it may be that you happened to end up with just a few too many receptors for a certain protein and now are stuck addicted to your belief in your own imagination. Biologically unable to progress mentally past irrational belief in Gods and Goddesses, magical stones and winged fairy creatures.

I think my explanation makes a decent attempt to explain such behavior.

Versus SAM's: There is One God, MoMo is It's very Last of the Last Prophets hence I must pray to It.


please.

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 07:39 PM
I suppose evolution only occurs in the athiest context.

cosmictraveler
01-18-09, 07:45 PM
I would think they copied it from......





http://www.wildgingerfarm.com/images/Praying_Mantis4.JPG

Michael
01-18-09, 07:56 PM
I suppose evolution only occurs in the athiest context.Well you are wrong SAM. It's that simple. Theist evolve too .. just slower :D

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 08:00 PM
Slower evolution...interesting.

Whats your field again?

Michael
01-18-09, 08:11 PM
yeah, that is interesting isn't it?

S.A.M.
01-18-09, 08:14 PM
Yeah, it is. So the faster evolving ones are those who are not adapted to their environment and need to catch up, eh?

Michael
01-18-09, 08:19 PM
Perhaps it depends on one's environment. I'm sure you fit just where you should be, and I where I am.

cosmictraveler
01-18-09, 09:35 PM
I try to adapt to my environment.:)

PsychoticEpisode
01-18-09, 09:37 PM
Putting one's hands together to pray is probably meant to show God that your hands aren't busy doing overtime somewhere else. It would be a sin to pray for sex and not show God your hands.:D

I wonder if some people actually get off on praying, if they do then what would you call it?

cosmictraveler
01-18-09, 09:41 PM
I wonder if some people actually get off on praying, if they do then what would you call it?

Buddhists call it meditating.

PsychoticEpisode
01-18-09, 09:46 PM
Buddhists call it meditating.

People get their jollies in the strangest ways. Buddhists are merely engaging in satisfying sexual urges. One thing good about mental sex is that it is safe.

swarm
01-19-09, 03:23 AM
Meditating is not praying.

A few people really get off on the meditating. A least for Buddhsim that's considered an obstructing distraction. One refucuses on the mditation until it passes. Some adjust their position to make it less comfortable if they have trouble staying focused because of it.

Since many Buddhists have romantic partners, I'm not sure why they would need to have meditation about satisfying sexual urges. Though I suppose the Tibetans have using sexual urges as a meditation.

Adstar
01-19-09, 05:41 AM
Why do people put their hands together when they pray?

http://ac4.yt-thm-a03.yimg.com/image/47910a063da29270
http://ac4.yt-thm-a04.yimg.com/image/9111bb0c3c084602


I don't. :)


All Praise The Ancient of Days

Enmos
01-19-09, 05:43 AM
I always wondered if it could perhaps be some lost symbolism of being bound by the hands.

John99
01-19-09, 12:31 PM
*************
M*W: I particularly like the photo of the dog. Who is it praying to, the great big bone in the sky?

he's concentrating.

Medicine*Woman
01-19-09, 01:19 PM
Putting one's hands together to pray is probably meant to show God that your hands aren't busy doing overtime somewhere else. It would be a sin to pray for sex and not show God your hands.:D

I wonder if some people actually get off on praying, if they do then what would you call it?
*************
M*W: When I was Catholic, I noticed that people often didn't clasp their hands in prayer like Protestants do. However, my introduction to Catholicism was through a neighborhood Catholic charismatic prayer group. Those people used their hands a lot in prayer like flinging them in the air and the laying on of hands in prayer. I, however, was a more traditional Catholic and found the charismatic style not for me. I think the charismatics really got off to praying and speaking in tongues. I never could get the hang of speaking in tongues, and the members of the prayer group thought that I really didn't fit in because of it. They were right. I didn't. Their idea of praying for someone amounted to nothing more than viscious gossip they spread around in the name of prayer. Talk about 'holier than thou!' I think the use of hands in prayer or even in healing is sensual as in the sense of touch. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Outside of the religious sense, I think touch is healing.

PsychoticEpisode
01-19-09, 09:57 PM
I've heard that church doors are shaped like praying hands, designed to catch prayers.

What possible use is there in praying when God already knows what you were going to say?

CheskiChips
01-19-09, 10:03 PM
I don't. :)


All Praise The Ancient of Days

Kadark? Or...I forget the other guy...


Who are you?

draqon
01-19-09, 10:07 PM
what if...our hands act like an antenna to send our messages of prayer from the brain to God?

draqon
01-19-09, 10:11 PM
Kadark? Or...I forget the other guy...


Who are you?

Adstar. noone else.

Adstar
01-20-09, 02:25 AM
Kadark? Or...I forget the other guy...


Who are you?

I am me. Adstar. never been anyone else in here.

I am wondering why you think i am Kadark?? strange.


All Praise The Ancient Of Days

Orleander
01-20-09, 10:16 AM
When we said grace or prayed in church we just bowed our heads. But when we said our bedtime prayer, we clapsed our hands.
I wonder if its a thing parents teach their small kids so they won't fidget, and they always know where their hands are.

swarm
01-23-09, 06:01 AM
Hand check!