In The Magic of Vajrayana, Ken McLeod seems to be very big on prayer. One of the chapters at least is devoted to a translated text called The Magic of Faith, which I think is supposed to function as a prayer although I don't recall exactly.
Even the word prayer grates on me. I want to complain about prayer, and this prayer in particular, because it'll be fun for me. I'm serious, but not that serious.
I have a few complaints about this prayer. Some of these may be from confusing it with other traditions of prayer. Regardless, I complain:
- It's so long! Three to four pages, depending how I count. Who could memorize all that?
- Vowing to release all beings, really? How on earth would one do that? It seems silly to swear to do that which I do not know how I could possibly do—that which nobody has ever done. Even worse, because in theory I could, like any of us, optimize for doing something like that, allowing that I must fall short of exactly fulfilling such a vow—however I have no intention to so optimize.
- I dislike the self-deprecating undertones. It sounds degradingly humile at points.
- Isn't praying like giving up? Quitting? Who wants to be a quitter?
- Or, does prayer mean taking that which is Other as taskmaster? That sounds terrible. A terrible, terrible idea. Surely not.
- Prayer to me connotes a regular practice of repeating certain words in a certain order, which I expect eventually to render the words perfunctory.
That seems like enough for now.