Epicurean substitute for prayer

  • That's always been one of my reasons for advocating for the Tetrapharmakos :)

    That is both simple and familiar to an Epicurean. The usual English translations, though, seem more like instructions or rubrics, rather than self-expressive prayer or meditative affirmations. And not everyone will find the Greek either resonant or easy to remember/recite. 8|

    LOL! I'll take that as a challenge to come up with one that's not in the imperative and is more prayer-like :)

  • I find myself alive in the universe. I know that there is sorrow, and fear, and that life sometimes hurts—but I also know that it is wonderful, really wonderful, sometimes sublime, just to be alive here. There is beauty and delight here that will move me even at my last breath. There is knowledge and philosophy to dull my pains, and to enhance my pleasures. There is friendship, romance, love, art, and literature—all the choicest fruits of a peaceable and prosperous age, in a free and civil society. To say that I am grateful is simply to say that I appreciate it. To appreciate something, and to appreciate the gift of something, are two different things. One who appreciates wine recognizes its worth and its specialness in a deep and penetrating way.

    That's what it is to appreciate life and its blessings

    I really like this, and maybe will use some of this (if you don't mind Joshua) to create a kind of prayer.

    Also thinking something similarly pithy with regard to "prayer" during illness -- that I remember that slight pains can be endured by adding in pleasure, and extreme pains are only short in duration. (Feeling a little under the weather and once my mind feels a little clearer will dive into this).

    And also work on "prayer" addressing anxiety, fear, sadness.

  • Tetrapharmakos Prayer [a draft]

    Unaffrighted by gods,

    unworried by death,

    with what is good easy-come

    and travails tranquilly borne,

    in your Garden we rest,

    by simple pleasures blest.


    This is a first pass. I am trying for short-syllable lines with some rhythm. One might use it with an image of Epicurus for meditation. Again, a first pass – till tomorrow! 😊

  • Okay, a very quick attempt at an imayo (Japanese 4-line poem with 12 syllables in each line in a 7 first / 5 last split with a caesura separating them. Lines can also be split at the caesura. And, no, I didn't even know this was a poem style until I looked at that list in the last post!)

    So, this is an attempt at a possible prayer-like, poetic rendition of the Tetrapharmakos:

    Blissful gods I do not fear | free from care and woe.

    My pending death brings nothing | neither rod nor gift.

    The good is pleasant feeling | easy to procure.

    The terrible is painful | but we can endure.

    With the lines split:

    Blissful gods I do not fear

    free from care and woe.

    My pending death brings nothing

    neither rod nor gift.

    The good is pleasant feeling

    easy to procure.

    The terrible is painful

    but I can endure.

  • Okay, so here is draft 2, composed in the light of day. I tried to pay more attention to the syllable structure and alliteration and a little rhyme:

    Blissful gods I do not fear,

    free from care and woe.

    Destined death bears not a threat,

    think not rod nor gift.

    Pleasant feeling is the good,

    easy to procure.

    Terror comes from pain and grief,

    but I can endure.

    EDIT: Okay, final revision (LOL) with more attention to syllable structure and formal alliteration, etc. I can almost guarantee this won't be the last one... but I'll stop hijacking the thread!

    Blissful gods I do not fear,

    free from care and woe.

    Destined death, devoid of risk,

    removes rod and reward.

    Pleasant feeling is the good,

    gained by nature's ease.

    Dreadful pain disturbs my peace,

    but I can endure.

    Note: I have purposefully "almost" alliterated "peace" and "but" (same articulation, but one voiced one unvoiced). I also just realized ease and peace are almost rhymes with the same voiced/unvoiced pair. That was accidental but ... hmm...

    Edited once, last by Don: Added Revision 3! Can't seem to let it alone! ().

  • I almost went to this Unity church this morning, but then I felt my "atheist" spirit say to me better to go worship at a "house of coffee" (a coffeehouse).

    Here is what was on their website (everything is good except the Bible verse at the end).


    I use divine wisdom to find my way.

    When I’m pondering a perplexing question or I need to make an important choice, I reach beyond human reasoning to the limitless wisdom of divine mind, never further away than my next thought.

    After clarifying my question and considering my available options, I release the situation, focusing instead on the divine presence within. I affirm: I am using divine wisdom to show me the way. In prayerful silence, peace envelops me.

    As I conclude my prayer time and resume my activities, I may experience a flash of insight or a more gradual understanding. However it happens, I trust my next steps will become clear to me. Confident in my divine guidance, I move forward with calm assurance.

    But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.—Matthew 6:33

  • with perhaps a mantra,

    :) :thumbup: How about this:

    No fear

    No death

    Feel good

    Bear pain

    That's **very** much an "of the top of my head."

    As always, there's much more going on behind why I chose these lines here and in the above poem, butI 'll jump down off my TetrapharmaBox for awhile now.

  • Tetrapharmakos Meditation Prayer

    Unaffrighted by carefree gods,

    untroubled by unfeeling death –

    humble pleasures proffer delight,

    tranquility becalms travail.

    ~ ~ ~

    By spirit of your Garden blest,

    each today be bountiful fest.


    Another pass (stimulated by Don’s – but not a competition! 😊).

    Cast in a rough [mixed] tetrameter. I chose “unaffrighted” rather than “unafraid” to avoid any Stoic connotations. “Bountiful fest”: following on “humble pleasures,” trying to convey the notion of “enough is a feast” (one of my wife’s favorite sayings).

  • I suppose I am the only one for whom the tune in the video below came to mind when I saw the title of the new Emily Austin book "Living For Pleasure." :) (maybe not the best example of the song but it has the words)

    If we could convince Nate or someone else musically talented (Kalosyni? Others?) to come up with some better words then we might have something to accompany the thoughts in this thread about a "prayer" :)

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  • At my wife’s request, we started using my attempt at a Tetrapharmicon Prayer/Meditation as a kind of “saying grace” at dinner. I realized that my overburdening wordplay made it quite cumbersome. So I simplified and generalized (still guilty of stretching the wordplay a bit: aiming at rhyme as a mnemonic aid, even if the rhymes have an archaic feel; and quasi-meter – not quite tetrameter, but each eight-syllable line ends with an iamb).

    Instead of an “amen” I appended the Spanish “¡Pura Vida! ¡Salud!” as a kind of exclamation of good cheer. My wife and I usually toast, especially before a meal, with “Salud!” – and “Pura Vida!” (Pure Life!) is a popular phrase in Costa Rica, where it is used for everything from “Hello” to a response to the question “How are you doing?” to a cheer (we first were made aware of by the Costa Rican soccer fans some years ago while watching the World Cup on TV, who cheered with it and displayed it on banners).

    It’s not quite the Tetrapharmicon, except by implication. I also try to use it in the morning to start the day.


    An Epicurean Prayer Meditation

    Unaffrighted by gods or fates,

    a happy soul travail abates.

    Easy fare makes bountiful fest,

    and gratitude a Garden blest.

    ~ ~ ~

    ¡Pura Vida! ¡Salud!

  • Finally something further came to me for this thread. A work in progress, and maybe more of a meditation rather than a prayer.

    Epicurean Prayer for Self-guidance

    May I remember to see the future as just as important as the present. May I remember that there is just this one life and to be fully present to it. May I trust that I will find solutions to all my challenges, and skillfully take actions to create my best life.

    May I remember that actions of kindness, honesty, and patience especially when faced by challenges, are most likely to lead to better results for long-term happiness.

    May I remember to seek out the help of trusted friends even when I think I am doing fine on my own. May I offer help to my trusted friends as an opportunity to strengthen the connection we share.

    May I actively seek to find comfort and joy in daily moments of pleasant sensations. May I enjoy all the new things that I am learning about the world. May I remember to do the most important actions to live happily. (this last line, more to be added).

  • Easy fare makes bountiful fest,

    and gratitude a Garden blest.

    Oh this is great for a meal prayer!

    And that gets me thinking about what might I like to compose for a meal prayer. :)

  • I'm reminded of a section in the opening chorus in Handel's Acis & Galatea.

    For us the zephyr blows,

    For us distills the dew,

    For us unfolds the rose,

    And flow'rs display their hue.

    For us the winters rain,

    For us the summers shine,

    Spring swells for us the grain,

    And autumn bleeds the wine.

    “If the joys found in nature are crimes, then man’s pleasure and happiness is to be criminal.”

  • Oh this is great for a meal prayer!

    And that gets me thinking about what might I like to compose for a meal prayer. :)

    Thank you so much. Yes, I think these things need to be individualized because we will all feel it a bit differently.

    And I really like your prayer/meditation for self-guidance. :)