Praying for others is to serve as a bridge:
Conveying suffering to request rescue,
Making Buddha's merits known to appreciate the grace.
With pure Bodhicitta no entanglement could arise.
With pure Bodhicitta we pray on behalf of suffering beings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, requesting help in reduction of karmic hindrances and increase in merits and wisdom so as to gradually attain ultimate liberation from suffering. We also explain to people, after they have sensed the turn of events toward improvement, how to appreciate the grace of Buddha's limitless compassion. Thus a practitioner serves as a bridge that facilitates the communication and understanding between suffering beings and holy ones. A novice practitioner may think that much preparation is needed before one can pray for others, or worry about getting involved in others' karmic problems, and hence refrain from praying for others. Such considerations are rooted in wrong views. As long as a practitioner is not working for alms, nor expecting rewards, then there is no reason that others' karmic debts will befall on the practitioner. If a Buddhist practitioner does not pray to Buddhas on behalf of others to reduce their suffering, then there is no way to cultivate and nourish Bodhicitta. Furthermore, such selfish consideration will confine one's spiritual growth, not to mention becoming a hindrance to ultimate liberation.
Written in Chinese: November 16, 1999
Translated: November 17, 1999
El Cerrito, California