The Perfect Prayer for Our Time
The two most urgent problems of our time are human violence and violence against nature. The following prayer from the Jain religion in India is the best expression I have found anywhere for making us aware of our destructive tendencies and actions, and to approach life with reverence and humility. I quote it in my new book, Why People Pray, in a chapter titled “A New Language of Prayer.”
May you, O Revered One! Voluntarily permit me. I would like to confess my sinful acts committed while walking. I honor your permission. I desire to absolve myself of the sinful acts by confessing them. I seek forgiveness from all those living beings which I may have tortured while walking, coming and going, treading on living organism, seeds, green grass, dew drops, ant hills, moss, live water, live earth, spider web and others. I seek forgiveness from all these living beings, be they—one sensed, two sensed, three sensed, four sensed or five sensed. Which I may have kicked, covered with dust, rubbed with ground, collided with other, turned upside down, tormented, frightened, shifted from one place to another or killed and deprived them of their lives. (By confessing) may I be absolved of all these sins.