The Difference Between Hope and Prayer

The third incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche died in a car crash in 1992. He was only 38. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak, during his lifetime. This was in the 70s. Rinpoche was a vigorous, warm speaker, young but clear and precise. During the question time after the lecture, someone asked him to talk about the difference between Hope and Prayer. 

Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche spoke of hope and prayer

His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche the Third, Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge (Click here for some of his teaching). 

Prayer, he said, is strong, filled with intention and energy. 

Hope, however, is a weak passive thing. There is no action in hope—it is a wish without substance. But Prayer—prayer gets things done. 

Rinpoche did not mean personal goods or recognition. He meant to benefit all sentient beings. 


This is the only thing I remember from that lecture so long ago. It drove home to me the power of intention, of directed energy. I am not particularly religious, but prayer, to me, has great power. I do associate it with protective entities, in that I visualize their intercession and assistance as part of the package. 

For example, when my kids were out late and I worried about them, imagining all sorts of terrible things, I chose instead to put out protective energy, to envision them safe and sound, in the embrace of protectors, in a glow of love. It gives me a sense of purpose, of action. Any time I find myself worrying about someone, or something, I do this. 

I view this dance practice much like prayer. 

Not in a religious way, but as filled with intention and energy. It gets things done. Not physical things like a million dollars or a nice big house (nam myoho renge kyo, anyone?). More like things that are not things—healing, connection, and joy. 


I have a mission. 

Awaken people to their own beauty and power

Enable them to express their unique individuality through art

Bring honor and appreciation to belly dance

Enjoy a life of creativity, adventure, mystery, abundance, and ease

Cultivate a radiant oasis of warmth and delight


Everything I do has this intention. It’s not just for me, but it is partly for me, so that I can do the other things. A leader is not a boss. A boss tells people what to do. A leader goes first, so that others see what can be done. A leader gives permission through their own actions. 


Welcome to the radiant oasis ; )


What is your intention? 


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