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Difference between prayer and meditation?

 
 
Deckard
 
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 08:23 pm
What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

To my understanding the main difference is that prayer requires some entityto hear the prayers while meditation requires no such listener. Furthermore, in the case of prayer, this listener is usually, if not always, supernatural, while meditation does not require (though does not exclude) anything supernatural.
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 08:27 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;120345 wrote:
What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

To my understanding the main difference is that prayer requires some entityto hear the prayers while meditation requires no such listener. Furthermore, in the case of prayer, this listener is usually, if not always, supernatural, while meditation does not require (though does not exclude) anything supernatural.


Prayer requires no entity. If God does not exist, then people who pray to God are not praying to any entity.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 09:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120347 wrote:
Prayer requires no entity. If God does not exist, then people who pray to God are not praying to any entity.


That is a good point. Prayer requires that the one praying believes that there is such an entity. Actually, "Believes" is too strong a word, sometimes the one praying only hopes or posits that there is such an entity. I would even go so far as to say that in some cases the one praying only pretends that there is such and entity. If the one praying only pretends that there is such an entity does that necessarily make the prayer itself pretend i.e. not a prayer at all?
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Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 09:04 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120347 wrote:
Prayer requires no entity. If God does not exist, then people who pray to God are not praying to any entity.


Yes, but the intent with prayer is some form of communication. It may fail due to the nonexistence of the intended listener, but it is still different from meditation which, I believe, is something without such an intention.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 10:20 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;120354 wrote:
Yes, but the intent with prayer is some form of communication. It may fail due to the nonexistence of the intended listener, but it is still different from meditation which, I believe, is something without such an intention.


I suppose that the person who prays, prays to someone, and believes there is an entity. The verb, "to pray" is a transitive verb. You cannot just pray. You have to pray to X. "To meditate" is an intransitive verb (or, maybe, non-transitive).
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 10:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120369 wrote:
I suppose that the person who prays, prays to someone, and believes there is an entity. The verb, "to pray" is a transitive verb. You cannot just pray. You have to pray to X. "To meditate" is an intransitive verb (or, maybe, non-transitive).


But we also say "meditate upon" so meditate can be transitive as well.

The dictionaries I've checked say that both words can be either transitive or intransitive depending on how it is used.

Religious use of the word tends toward the intransitive in both cases. (thefreedictionary.com has a well known bias in favor of negative theology.)
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 10:45 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;120374 wrote:
But we also say "meditate upon" so meditate can be transitive as well.

The dictionaries I've checked say that both words can be either transitive or intransitive depending on how it is used.

Religious use of the word tends toward the intransitive in both cases. (thefreedictionary.com has a well known bias in favor of negative theology.)


Yes. "Meditate" can be both. But I don't see how "to pray" can be intransitive. Can you just pray without praying to anyone? (For what it is worth, I think that etymologically, "to pray" is to ask. And can you ask without asking anyone?)
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 11:43 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120377 wrote:
Yes. "Meditate" can be both. But I don't see how "to pray" can be intransitive. Can you just pray without praying to anyone? (For what it is worth, I think that etymologically, "to pray" is to ask. And can you ask without asking anyone?)


From what I've looked up so far, technically, "pray" is ditransitive while "meditate" is transitive.

An indirect object answers "to whom?"
A direct object answers "for what?".

Praying takes an indirect object. e.g. "I pray to a God."
Meditating cannot take an indirect object. I can meditate about the God but I cannot meditate to God.

Praying also takes a direct object. e.g. "I pray for salvation."
Meditating can also take a direct object. e.g. "I meditate upon the meaning of salvation."

So the word "pray" is not merely transitive but ditransitive in the same way that "ask" is ditransitive.

example
"Pray to whom for what?"
"Ask whom for what?"

[CENTER]---

[/CENTER]
The transitive vs. ditransitive distinction is one important grammatical cum philosophical difference between meditation and prayer but I'm still skeptical about the the degree to which "meditate" is ambitransitive (both transitive and intransitive). Isn't there always some implied direct object whenever the word "meditate" is used? It seems more of a Zen koan, or Zen joke to say that it is possible to meditate about nothing - to just meditate.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Jan, 2010 11:53 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;120402 wrote:
From what I've looked up so far, technically, "pray" is ditransitive while "meditate" is transitive.

An indirect object answers "to whom?"
A direct object answers "for what?".

Praying takes an indirect object. e.g. "I pray to a God."
Meditating cannot take an indirect object. I can meditate about the God but I cannot meditate to God.

Praying also takes a direct object. e.g. "I pray for salvation."
Meditating can also take a direct object. e.g. "I meditate upon the meaning of salvation."

So the word "pray" is not merely transitive but ditransitive in the same way that "ask" is ditransitive.

example
"Pray to whom for what?"
"Ask whom for what?"

[CENTER]---

[/CENTER]
The transitive vs. ditransitive distinction is one important grammatical cum philosophical difference between meditation and prayer but I'm still skeptical about the the degree to which "meditate" is ambitransitive. Isn't there always some implied direct object whenever the word "meditate" is used? It seems more of a Zen koan, or Zen joke to say that it is possible to meditate about nothing - to just meditate.


It seems to me that I have heard that some meditation is not about anything. It is just a state of mind. A meditative state of mind. I don't know the term, "ditransitive". Is there such a term? Or "ambitransitive" for that matter? I know, "intransitive", and "non-transitive". Won't those do the trick?
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2010 12:18 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120405 wrote:
It seems to me that I have heard that some meditation is not about anything. It is just a state of mind. A meditative state of mind. I don't know the term, "ditransitive". Is there such a term? Or "ambitransitive" for that matter? I know, "intransitive", and "non-transitive". Won't those do the trick?


(I recommend Google for further information about ditransitive and ambitransitive.)

At this point I'm a little foggy about what transitivity really means. Is it that the verb requires an object or just that the verb can take an object if that is what the sentence requires? Also, I'm not sure what an implied object means when deciding the question. So I need to go back and ask what you meant by "transitive" and "non-transitive" when you introduced them into this thread.
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2010 09:56 pm
@Deckard,
What is prayer?
What is meditation?


Do I do it?
Is it done to me?
Do I recognise it?
Does it recognise me?
How do I remember it?
Is it that can be forgot?
Dose it come or does it go?
Where does it come form?
Where is it going?
From me or from you?
Is it all hidden?
Is it all show?
For me or for you?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
How do I do?
Is it done?
Where did it go?
When did I do it?
What was it for?
What did I do for it?
What did it do for me?
It is doing more?
It is an action?
Is it a consequence?
What does it do?
What does it do not?
Is it in the presence?
Is it good is it bad?
Is it ugly or is it just beautiful?
Healing?
Or just as harmful?
Does it bring happy?
Take away the pain?
How can you see its?
Can I show you mine?
If you could show me yours?
Blind mans scratch and itch?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
Does it give?
Does it take away?
Does it create?
Is it the creation?
Is it work?
Is it play?
Does it work?
Does it display?
For the whom who?
For God the devil or Bob?
Am I Bob?
Does it grant?
Does it rob?
Can you do it for yourself?
Must it be for all else?
Does it work for you?
Do you work for it?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
Is it an action?
Is it an inaction?
Is it a cause?
Is it an effect?
Does it have a audience?
Does it play to the deaf?
Does it empty?
Does it fill?
Is it something?
Is it nothing but still?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
Does it have an answer?
Is it a question?
Is it a knowing?
Is it a not at all?
An unknowing perhaps?
Prehaps not?
Perhaps to be remembered?
Prehaps to be forgot?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
Does it have a answer?
Does it have a lie?
Can we share?
Can we hide?
Is it a gift?
Is it a debt?
Is it a freedom?
Is it a regret?
Is it for cure?
Is it for luck?
Eyes wide open?
Eyes wide shut?
Is it a mystery?
Is it a magic?
Is it a deviation?
Is it tragic?
Is it something more?
Is it something less?
Is it a joy?
Is it a distress?
Is it a rhyme?
Is it a reason?
Does it take time?
Does it give time back?
What does it do if it never was had?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
Is it a letter sent?
Is it message received?
Does it get lost?
Meanings on a breeze?
What is prayer?
What is meditation?
I shall ask and then i shall leave.

---------- Post added 01-17-2010 at 04:14 AM ----------

Deckard;120345 wrote:
What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

To my understanding the main difference is that prayer requires some entityto hear the prayers while meditation requires no such listener. Furthermore, in the case of prayer, this listener is usually, if not always, supernatural, while meditation does not require (though does not exclude) anything supernatural.

(didn't leave for long enough though did ISmile)
I was just wondering this myself recently heavily.

Prayer and meditation alike only require one mind to listen and one mind to hear.
I would not say a deity needs to do either unless you yourself are that deity.
Both are practices of the divine communion we wish to have.
And one must commune with the self first and last before you can hope to be part of a community.
One is directed outward one is directed inward, but both start and end in the same place.
You answer yourself or you are answered, either way you in both cases are the seeker and finder.
Seeking and you are found, found and you are seeking?
Do they seek different things from different things?
The question always starts with you asking.
It is your longing to understand or to influence.
And the answer is always heard by the same.
Are you heard or do you hear?
Either one does not matter when you are the giver and the receiver.

---------- Post added 01-17-2010 at 04:45 AM ----------

Deckard;120352 wrote:
That is a good point. Prayer requires that the one praying believes that there is such an entity. Actually, "Believes" is too strong a word, sometimes the one praying only hopes or posits that there is such an entity. I would even go so far as to say that in some cases the one praying only pretends that there is such and entity. If the one praying only pretends that there is such an entity does that necessarily make the prayer itself pretend i.e. not a prayer at all?

Entity is state as much as place to my mind, so when i meditate i am joining heavenly compound, just as when i pray i am trying to reach the same place.
The letter sorting office of heaven, the astral plane both to me are still waiting for divine intervention asking for it, both are still waiting for a reply. Both still a truth is sought.
Sometimes if not most times we hold the answers for we hold a part of GOd if not just by being close to God, it is all about listening in a place and state that is quiet so we can first hear our own voices. Both cases we are asking something, asking for a truth. Some people dont trust their own judgement, but we will all always know when we find an answer, self recognised or not doe snot matter because we have found what we were looking for. WE ask and answer our selves all the time, these two are just descriptions of that place and the vehicle in which we drive is still the self and still self inspiration and solution and interpretation. Just because one is presumed to be trying to contact different things, it is the questions and answers we seek that are the same, divine inspiration will always be a gift, where it comes from does not matter it is the outcome and the conclusion the self receives. We are trying to have an effect upon our lives through the divine, still means we are looking for an effect and the reason for taking the journey in the first place is still to arrive at the same place, same outcome enlightenment.
Is it the reason or is it the outcome?
If there is any pretence you are not going to find anything but more lies which originate from the ego and self delusion usually thinkimg one is brighter than God instead of at least being steady and sure and waiting for the responce. We are still that which is reached. The final destination.
You cant lie to yourself and get away with it. You cant forge an experience or responce.
God speaks with Gods voice to very few people if ever because God voice is Word. Hearing yourself is the best way to know that something is truth, just takes training to do so, because we are sadly trained to lie, to apparently survive life we still do it to oursleves, but you will never find an answer if it a lie, only you can tell the difference.
Meditation and prayer alike recondition yourself from a liar to a truth sayer.
You cant cheat the divine, and i'm not sure you can ever really cheat yourself, waste of time trying and you reach nothing and nowhere.
You cant be answered if you dont ask for a truth.

---------- Post added 01-17-2010 at 04:56 AM ----------

kennethamy;120377 wrote:
Yes. "Meditate" can be both. But I don't see how "to pray" can be intransitive. Can you just pray without praying to anyone? (For what it is worth, I think that etymologically, "to pray" is to ask. And can you ask without asking anyone?)

Both are actions of and upon the self first, they both come from the same place and both end up there, you are either answered or you are not, but it is you doing the asking and the questions reach first that which asks them.
The outcome is and answer and both end in the same place, the self person who is looking for the solution.
Both are exercises, both move the same body first.
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 03:20 am
@Deckard,
I have changed my mind, (are we allowed to do that here?)

And although i think i made some true points about the outcome and reason all for being more truthful and finding more truth, communication and commune, however;
Meditation is going and being in amongst, Prayer is preparation for battle coming out of even standing alone. Meditation you are moving flowing, prayer is standing waiting. Both are answering just one whilst and one at the beginning end. You must understand we all have the same depths it is just some float flounder and some drown so any meditation level is achievable by any other all a matter of learning to swim or be carrie dby the current, is it the paryer and stand solitary that is prayers stance? Just as because we are built with our levels make us combinual? One you are standing alone against one you are sitting together for?
Both you can learn form from to do the other better.
Meditation is instinct thought over cognition thought Prayer is cognition thought over instinct thought.
One is the control of thought one is the freeing of it. Being liars has become instinctual. Meditation means no room to lie to the self, almost ignorance of what it is that would have you not be true, Prayer means the control and of the lie and the total awareness disclosure exposure of it, meditation means to ignore it completely and move further on without it and the need to recognise it breath, prayer is the uncoverer of truth by exposing the lie and using it as example speach.
Prayer is lesson, Meditation is learning.
I forgot that mantra is closer to prayer than to meditation which is why one uses it at the beginning of meditations as well as at the end.
Prayer is the canvass the confines of an art, meditation is feeling for the hues needed and how to free the picture from the art.
Prayer is grateful, Meditation is acceptance.
Both are experience but you are more likely to forget meditation than prayer, I wonder which one you need the most? Just the Being, or the beginning/ending?
Self realisation or self recognition? Acceptance or Allowance? Release or relief? Are both actualisation? Of course they are, just revealing different actualities the differences of the self when hearing or speaking, formed or forming, being pulled along by truth or pushing for it, but one unifying truth reveal, all truth is the same in the end, does it matter how we get there or how we practice how we get there?
I would be interested in hearing how people listen hear by how they speak preach.
Is preaching a form of prayer? and this proves that it can include more than one? I am lost where it comes to either being solitary or communal, both for both i think.
I do not see this as a religious question, i see this firmly as a mind matter.
Any one can pray and usually most people do they just dont realise it is what they are doing, anyone can meditate they just dont realise that they can by doing.
Why do i think most if not all people pray whereas i do not think most people meditate? because we are preocupised by the lie and if not telling them then discovering them, whereas most people are not all that bothered with the truth they are born with or how to discover it, but this does also say that most people in one degree or another are actually living by truth if not for it, to busy with the distraction that is lie. To busy just praying and forgetting we need both to not only recognise truth but to be it in the forever place with it, as well as seeking it out.
Prayer is to find. Know what you are looking for
Meditation is to be found. Know when you are it.
Both for truth. Not the lie.
You need both prayer and meditation to do each the best they can be, together.
Both free just different degrees of freedom.
I'm going on a bit, so will drop it.
Good night or Good day.

One you are asking for God, the other you are with God or at least closer.
Asking for guidance, being guided.
Leading or being led.
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 08:40 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;120345 wrote:
What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

To my understanding the main difference is that prayer requires some entityto hear the prayers while meditation requires no such listener. Furthermore, in the case of prayer, this listener is usually, if not always, supernatural, while meditation does not require (though does not exclude) anything supernatural.

Well, before saying anything about prayer and meditation, I think we should first decide what are we talking about.
I think there is big difference between these two. Prayer is practice, contemplation (if this is what thou meanst by meditation) is not practice. When one contempates nature, or his thoughts, there is no effort of will, there is just seeing without judgement.
Prayer is used to embed certain ideas of its subject -- this is the main difference between them. Prayer is an outcome of desire, desire to be someone, to gain something, contemplation is absolutely opposite to desire, it is possible when the I is left behind.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 04:22 am
@Deckard,
A further distinction might be made on account of the idea of meditation being generally associated with Eastern spiritual practices. These might be either theistic (for example Krishna Consciousness Movement), non-theistic (e.g. many forms of Buddhism) or, arguably, pantheistic. But in any case the attitude is somewhat different to prayer. Meditation is associated more with, first, achieving a state of inner stillness and quietude, and second, with attaining an insight into the causes of stress, unhappiness, sorrow, and so on, within the mind of the practitioner.

The Transcendental Meditation school which was associated with the Beatles had quite a large following in the sixties, which has waxed and waned somewhat, but is still taught. Various Buddhist and Yoga-inspired meditation methods are now disseminated widely in the Western world. Again the emphasis is more in finding peace or tranquility than on supplicatory prayer. There has been quite an interest in the therapeutic and psychological benefits of these kinds of practices which are relatively easy to disseminate in a secular context and are often not bound to a dogmatic orthodoxy (although usually associated with a lifestyle of moderation and vegetarianism.) The therapeutic benefits of meditation are well documented.

The words associated with meditation in the Eastern traditions don't have any easy translations into English. 'Dhyana' is translated as meditation, but is specifically associated with sitting in the cross-legged pose and in the Buddhist tradition, is also associated with a number of trance-states called 'jhanas' (which is basically the same word.) There is a long tradition in Indian philosophy of attaining wisdom or even 'deliverance' (mukti or nirvana) through attainment of higher states of consciousness, which are also said to result in the attainment of 'powers' (siddhis) by advanced practitioners. Other terms associated with meditation are 'bhavana' which literally means 'becoming' but is usually translated as 'mental culture'; and 'samadhi', again probably easiest to understand as a trance state or suspension of normal conscious activities (e.g. nirvikalpa samadhi or contentless consciousness.)

There are numerous, in fact innumerable, different schools and schemas of meditation and esoteric consciousness in the various Indian, Chinese and other Asian traditions (and I suppose I should mention, in the Islamic Sufi schools also).

Christianity also has its meditative tradition however this has been considerably downplayed in recent history and is notable by its absence in Protestantism in particular. Evangelicals will typically characterise yoga or Eastern-style meditation as 'the devils work'. It is represented in Catholicism, and in fact there is an interesting sub-culture of 'Zen Catholics' following from the inspiration of Trappist Monk Thomas Merton, who combine Buddhist-style meditative teachings with contemplative aspects of Christianity. (Shambhala Publications has a wonderful catalogue of 'East-West Christianity' texts along these lines.) The Eastern Orthodox tradition has a very strong 'heychast' movement which really is a type of devotional meditation practiced mainly by monks.

And finally there is a worldwide Christian Meditation movement which was pioneered by a Father John Main and continues to exist as The World Community for Christian Meditation
0 Replies
 
awareness
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 04:17 pm
@Deckard,
Prayer is a request.

Meditation is rest.
0 Replies
 
 

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