When I was a Tibetan Buddhist, I was taught that when holding one’s palms together in a mudra of prayer, one should fold the thumbs inside the palms, as a symbol that we don’t come before the Buddha emptyhanded. That we always make some offering when coming to the Buddha.
As I stood in Church the other day holding my hands open befoe me as I recited the Lord’s Prayer, that Tibetan instruction came to mind. I filed it away to think about later.
When I came back and thought about it, I came to the conclusion that for me the open empty hands is a more meaningful symbol than thumbs folded inside the palms:
In one sense, the open empty hands signify that I come before the Lord with nothing. All I am and all I have comes from God, is gift from God. So I have nothing to offer that doesn’t already belong to God.
In another sense, the open empty hands signify that I come before God with everything. It signifies what Iexpress when I recite the Suscipe prayer – that all I am, all I have, I return freely to be used in accordance with God’s will. I grasp onto nothing for myself, but offer it all in service of God.
Open empty hands. Nothing and everything.