Sarah Harding is a Tibetan translator and lama in the Kagyü school of Vajrayana Buddhism and editor of Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation (Wisdom).
Rev. Shohaku Okumura is director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco.
Mark Unno is ordained in the Shin Buddhist tradition and is an assistant professor of East Asian religions at the University of Oregon.
The Venerable Wadawala Seelawimala is a Theravadin monk from Sri Lanka and professor at the Institute for Buddhist Studies and the Graduate Theological Seminary in Berkeley.
Buddhadharma: Perhaps we could begin our discussion of the role of prayer in Buddhism by considering the Pure Land tradition, which is renowned for supplicating or invoking what it calls “other power.”
Mark Unno: One of the primary practices of the Pure Land tradition is intoning the name of Amida Buddha. In the Shin school, we say Namu Amida Butsu, which roughly translates as “I take refuge in Amida Buddha,” or “I entrust myself to Amida Buddha.”