Saturday, July 30, 2011

From The Plum Village Website

Today I want to talk about what it takes to actually go beyond the part about just reading and understanding these practices intellectually and actually practicing them. I sit in the morning with my Tibetan singing bowl, practicing the chants and recitations of the Plum Village / Deer Park Sahgha (Community) and Vow to Take Refuge in The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha. The Buddha in me is the awareness of the true potential for my life. The Dharma in me is the understanding of the true nature of life in compassion and a peaceful behavior and that it is the correct way to live. The Sangha is the community that we all are part of so, the Sangha in me is my willingness to be part of the community and do for the community what will eventually help build a four fold community.
I wish to thank Thich Nhat Hanh and his teacings of the Dharma that has brought me and my community to believe that he found the proper path through trial and error searching to find what works for us. I fully respect the Dharma teachings of the past and every thing that has brought me to where I am now. I hope that by my sharing this with you that you can find a way to your understanding of OUR future in the Sangha , through practicing and study of the Dharma, and belief in the Buddha in ourselves.

The Chants and Recitations of Plum Village in English: I read all I can from the PRACTICE SECTION their website and put these things into practice daily. I also read and practice from "Peace is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh. It is my finest guide to meditation explained more simply than I have ever heard it. His book on the basics of Buddhism is entitled "The Heart of The Buddha's Teachings". I find it more insightful than all of everything else I have read over the past thirty five years. Also, those of you who read and have trouble understanding "The Lotus Sutra" should get a copy of "Peaceful Action, Open Heart".

Incense Offering



(Incense Offering)


The fragrance of this incense
invites the awakened mind
to be truly present
with us now.
The fragrance of this incense
fills our practice center,
protects and guards our mind
from all wrong thinking.
The fragrance of this incense
collects us and unites us.
Precepts, concentration, insight
we offer for all that is:
Namo Bodhisattvebhyah
Namo Mahasattvebyah (Bell)

(Praising the Buddha)


The one who bows and the one who is bowed
to are both, by nature, empty.
Therefore, the communication between them
is inexpressibly perfect.
Our practice center is the Net of Indra
reflecting all Buddhas everywhere.
And my own person reflects in all Buddhas,
to whom with my whole life I go for refuge.
(B)

(Touching The Earth Before The Three Jewels)


(chanted together)
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who
shows me the way in this life. (B)
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of
understanding and of love. (B)
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community
that lives in harmony and awareness. (BB)

Chanting




(Praising The Bodhisattva of Great
Compassion)


From the depths of understanding, the flower
of great eloquence blooms:
The bodhisattva stands majestically upon
the waves of birth and death, free from all
afflictions.
Her great compassion eliminates all sickness,
even that once thought of as incurable.
Her wondrous light sweeps away all obstacles
and dangers.
Her willow branch, once waved, reveals
countless Buddha lands.
Her lotus flower blossoms a multitude of
practice centers.
We bow to her. We see her true presence in
the here and now.
We offer her the incense of our heart.
May the Bodhisattva of Deep Listening
embrace us all with great compassion:
Namo ’valokiteshvaraya (3x) (B)

(Sutra Opening Verse)


Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma
Sambuddhassa (3x) (B)

The Dharma is deep and lovely.
We now have a chance to see, study, and to practice it.
We vow to realize its true meaning. (B)

(The Refuge Chant)


Incense perfumes the atmosphere.
A lotus blooms, and the Buddha appears.
The world of suffering and discrimination is filled with the light of the Rising Sun.
As the dust of fear and anxiety settles, with open heart, one-pointed mind, I turn to the Three Jewels. (B)
The Fully Enlightened One, beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling, a living source of understanding and compassion,
to the Buddha I go for refuge. (B)
The path of mindful living, leading to healing, joy, and enlightenment, the way of peace,
to the Dharma I go for refuge. (B)
The loving and supportive community of practice, realizing harmony, awareness, and liberation, to the Sangha I go for refuge. (B)
I am aware that the Three Gems are within my heart.
I vow to realize them, practicing mindful breathing and smiling, looking deeply into things.
I vow to understand living beings and their suffering,
to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, to practice joy and equanimity. (B)
I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning, to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon,
living simply and sanely with few possessions, keeping my body healthy.
I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free. (B)
I am aware that I owe so much to my parents, teachers, friends, and all beings.
I vow to be worthy of their trust, to practice wholeheartedly so that understanding and compassion will flower,
helping living beings to be free from their suffering.
May the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha support my efforts. (BB)

(We Are Truly Present)


With hearts established in mindfulness, we are truly present
for sitting and walking meditation, and for reciting the sutras.
May this practice center with its four-fold Sangha be supported by the Three Jewels and Holy Beings,
well-protected from the eight misfortunes and the three paths of suffering.
May parents, teachers, friends, and all beings within the Three Realms be filled with the most divine grace,
and may it be found that in the world there is no place at war.
May the winds be favorable, the rains seasonable, and the people’s hearts at peace.
May the practice of the Noble Community, diligent and steady, ascend the Ten Bodhisattva Stages with ease and energy.
May the Sangha body live peacefully, fresh and full of joy, a refuge for all, offering happiness and insight. (B)
The wisdom of the Awakened Mind shines out like the full moon. (B)
The body of the Awakened One is pure and clear as crystal. (B)
In the world, the Awakened One relieves bitterness and suffering. (B)
In every place, the Awakened Mind reveals love and compassion:
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya (3x) (BB)

Sutra Reading


(Discourse on Knowing The Better Way To
Live Alone)

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was staying at the monastery in the Jeta Grove, in the town of Savatthi. He called all the monks to him and instructed them, “Bhikkhus!”

And the bhikkhus replied, “We are here.”

The Blessed One taught, “I will teach you what is meant by ‘knowing the better way to live alone.’ I will begin with an outline of the teaching, and then I will give a detailed explanation. Bhikkhus, please listen carefully.”

“Blessed One, we are listening.”

The Buddha taught:

“Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait till tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who
dwells in mindfulness
night and day ‘the one who knows
the better way to live alone."

“Bhikkhus, what do we mean by ‘pursuing the past’? When someone considers the way her body was in the past, the way her feelings were in the past, the way her perceptions were in the past, the way her mental formations were in the past, the way her consciousness was in the past; when she considers these things and her mind is burdened by and attached to these things which belong to the past, then that person is pursuing the past.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not pursuing the past’? When someone considers the way her body was in the past, the way her feelings were in the past, the way her perceptions were in the past, the way her mental formations were in the past, the way her consciousness was in the past; when she considers these things but her mind is neither enslaved by nor attached to these things which belong to the past, then that person is not pursuing the past.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘losing yourself in the future’? When someone considers the way his body will be in the future, the way his feelings will be in the future, the way his perceptions will be in the future, the way his mental formations will be in the future, the way his consciousness will be in the future; when he considers these things and his mind is burdened by and daydreaming about these things which belong to the future, then that person is losing himself in the future.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not losing yourself in the future’? When someone considers the way his body will be in the future, the way his feelings will be in the future, the way his perceptions will be in the future, the way his mental formations will be in the future, the way his consciousness will be in the future; when he considers these things but his mind is not burdened by or daydreaming about these things which belong to the future, then he is not losing himself in the future.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘being swept away by the present’? When someone does not study or learn anything about the Awakened One, or the teachings of love and understanding, or the community that lives in harmony and awareness; when that person knows nothing about the noble teachers and their teachings, and does not practice these teachings, and thinks, ‘This body is myself; I am this body. These feelings are myself; I am these feelings. This perception is myself; I am this perception. This mental formation is myself; I am this mental formation. This consciousness is myself; I am this consciousness,’ then that person is being swept away by the present.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not being swept away by the present’? When someone studies and learns about the Awakened One, the teachings of love and understanding, and the community that lives in harmony and awareness; when that person knows about noble teachers and their teachings, practices these teachings, and does not think, ‘This body is myself; I am this body. These feelings are myself; I am these feelings. This perception is myself; I am this perception. This mental formation is myself; I am this mental formation. This consciousness is myself; I am this consciousness,’ then that person is not being swept away by the present.

“Bhikkhus, I have presented the outline and the detailed explanation of knowing the better way to live alone.” Thus the Buddha taught, and the bhikkhus were delighted to put his teachings into practice.

Bhaddekaratta Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 131*

(The Three Refuges)


I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and of love.
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness. (B)
Dwelling in the refuge of Buddha, I clearly see the path of light and beauty in the world.
Dwelling in the refuge of Dharma, I learn to open many doors on the path of transformation.
Dwelling in the refuge of Sangha, shining light that supports me, keeping my practice free of obstruction. (B)
Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself, I aspire to help all people recognize their own awakened nature, realizing the Mind of Love.
Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself, I aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice, and walk together on the path of liberation.
Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself, I aspire to help all people build four-fold communities, to embrace all beings and support their transformation. (BB)

(Sutra Closing Verse)


Reciting the sutras, practicing the way of awareness,
gives rise to benefits without limit.
We vow to share the fruit with all beings.
We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers,
friends, numerous beings who give guidance and support along the path.
(BBB)

Citation: http://www.plumvillage.org/practice/ceremonies/135-daily-chanting-practice.html

Ceremony to Recite the Three Refuges, Two Promises, and Five Mindfulness Trainings

1. Opening the Ceremony

Sitting Meditation [10 - 15 MINUTES]

2. Opening Verse

[BELL, BELL, BELL]

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
[BELL]

The Dharma is deep and lovely.
We now have a chance to see, study, and practice it.
We vow to realize its true meaning.
[BELL]

3. The Heart of Perfect Understanding

The Bodhisattva Avalokita,
while moving in the deep course of Perfect Understanding,
shed light on the Five Skandhas and found them equally empty.
After this penetration, he overcame ill-being.
[BELL]

Listen, Shariputra,
form is emptiness, and emptiness is form.
Form is not other than emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.
The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.
[BELL]

Listen, Shariputra,
all dharmas are marked with emptiness.
They are neither produced nor destroyed,
neither defiled nor immaculate,
neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore in emptiness there is neither form, nor feelings, nor perceptions,
nor mental formations, nor consciousness.
No eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind.
No form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind.
No realms of elements (from eyes to mind consciousness),
no interdependent origins and no extinction of them
(from ignorance to death and decay).
No ill-being, no cause of ill-being, no end of ill-being, and no path.
No understanding and no attainment.
[BELL]

Because there is no attainment,
the Bodhisattvas, grounded in Perfect Understanding,
find no obstacles for their minds.
Having no obstacles, they overcome fear,
liberating themselves forever from illusion, realizing perfect nirvana.
All Buddhas in the past, present, and future,
thanks to this Perfect Understanding,
arrive at full, right, and universal enlightenment.
[BELL]

Therefore one should know
that Perfect Understanding is the highest mantra, the unequaled mantra,
the destroyer of ill-being, the incorruptible truth.
A mantra of Praj├▒aparamita should therefore be proclaimed:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
[BELL, BELL]

4. Introductory Words

Today the community has gathered to recite the Three Refuges, the Two Promises, and the Five Mindfulness Trainings. First we will recite the Three Refuges and the Two Promises. Young members of the community, please come forward. Upon hearing the sound of the bell, please touch the Earth three times to show your gratitude to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
[BELL, BELL, BELL]

[YOUNG PEOPLE TOUCH THE EARTH THREE TIMES ]

5. The Three Refuges

Young students of the Buddha, you have taken refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows you the way in this life; in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love; and in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness. It is beneficial to recite the Three Refuges regularly. Will the entire community please join the young people in reciting after me:

I take refuge in the Buddha,
the one who shows me the way in this life.
[BELL]

I take refuge in the Dharma,
the way of understanding and of love.
[BELL]

I take refuge in the Sangha,
the community that lives in harmony and awareness.
[BELL, BELL]

6. The Two Promises

[FOR CHILDREN]

Young students of the Buddha, we have completed the recitation of the Three Refuges. Now we will recite the Two Promises that you have made with the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Will the entire community please join the young people in reciting after me:

I vow to develop understanding, in order to live peacefully with people, animals, plants, and minerals.

This is the first promise you have made with the Buddha, our teacher. Have you tried to learn more about it and to keep your promise during the past two weeks?
[BELL]

I vow to develop my compassion, in order to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.

This is the second promise you have made with the Buddha, our teacher. Have you tried to learn more about it and to keep your promise during the past two weeks?
[BELL]

Young students of the Enlightened One, understanding and love are the two most important teachings of the Buddha. If we do not make the effort to be open, to understand the suffering of other people, we will not be able to love them and to live in harmony with them. We should also try to understand and protect the lives of animals, plants, and minerals and live in harmony with them. If we cannot understand, we cannot love. The Buddha teaches us to look at living beings with the eyes of love and understanding. Please learn to practice this teaching.
Young people, upon hearing the sound of the bell, please stand up and touch the Earth three times to the Three Jewels.
[BELL, BELL, BELL]

[THE YOUNG PEOPLE TOUCH THE EARTH]
[THE YOUNG PEOPLE MAY NOW LEAVE THE HALL OR THEY MAY STAY TO LISTEN TO THE OTHER TRAININGS. ]

7. Sanghakarman Procedure

Sanghakarman Master: Has the entire community assembled?
Sangha Convener: The entire community has assembled.
Sanghakarman Master: Is there harmony in the community?
Sangha Convener: Yes, there is harmony.
Sanghakarman Master: Is there anyone not able to be present who has asked to be represented, and have they declared themselves to have done their best to study and practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings?
Sangha Convener: No, there is not.
or
Sangha Convener: Yes, [NAME], for health reasons, cannot be at the recitation today. She has asked [NAME] to represent her and she declares that she has done her best to study and practice the mindfulness trainings.
Sanghakarman Master: What is the reason for the community gathering today?
Sangha Convener: The community has gathered to practice the recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.
Sanghakarman Master: Noble community, please listen. Today, [DATE], has been declared to be the Mindfulness Training Recitation Day. We have gathered at the appointed time. The noble community is ready to hear and recite the mindfulness trainings in an atmosphere of harmony, and the recitation can proceed. Is this statement clear and complete?
Everyone: Clear and complete.
[BELL]

8. Introductory Words

Brothers and Sisters, it is now time to recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings.
[OPTIONAL: Please, those who have been ordained as Upasaka and Upasika kneel with joined palms in the direction of the Buddha, our teacher.]
Brothers and Sisters, please listen. The Five Mindfulness Trainings are the basis for a happy life. They have the capacity to protect life and to make it beautiful and worth living. They are also the door that opens to enlightenment and liberation. Please listen to each mindfulness training, and answer “yes” silently every time you see that you have made an effort to study, practice, and observe the mindfulness training read.

9. Reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings

The First Mindfulness Training

Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

This is the first of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Have you made an effort to study, practice and observe it during the past two weeks?
[THREE BREATHS]
[BELL]

The Second Mindfulness Training

True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

This is the second of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Have you made an effort to study, practice and observe it during the past two weeks?
[THREE BREATHS]
[BELL]

The Third Mindfulness Training

True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

This is the third of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Have you made an effort to study, practice and observe it during the past two weeks?
[THREE BREATHS]
[BELL]

The Fourth Mindfulness Training

Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

This is the fourth of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Have you made an effort to study, practice and observe it during the past two weeks?
[THREE BREATHS]
[BELL]

The Fifth Mindfulness Training

Nourishment and Healing

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.
[THREE BREATHS]
[BELL]

10. Concluding Words

Brothers and Sisters, we have recited the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the foundation of happiness for the individual, the family, and society. We should recite them regularly so that our study and practice of the mindfulness trainings can deepen day by day.
Upon hearing the sound of the bell, please stand up and touch the Earth three times to show your gratitude to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
[BELL, BELL, BELL]

11. The Three Refuges

I take refuge in the Buddha,
the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma,
the way of understanding and of love.
I take refuge in the Sangha,
the community that lives in harmony and awareness.
[BELL]

Dwelling in the refuge of Buddha,
I clearly see the path of light and beauty in the world.
Dwelling in the refuge of Dharma,
I learn to open many doors on the path of transformation.
Dwelling in the refuge of Sangha,
shining light that supports me, keeping my practice free of obstruction.
[BELL]

Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself,
I aspire to help all people recognize their own awakened nature,
realizing the Mind of Love.
Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself,
I aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice
and walk together on the path of liberation.
Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself,
I aspire to help all people build Fourfold Communities,
to embrace all beings and support their transformation.
[BELL, BELL]

12. Sharing the Merit

Reciting the trainings, practicing the way of awareness
gives rise to benefits without limit.
We vow to share the fruits with all beings.
We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers, friends, and numerous beings
who give guidance and support along the path.
[BELL, BELL, BELL]

Citation: http://www.plumvillage.org/practice/ceremonies/136-ceremony-to-recite-the-three-refuges-two-promises-and-five-mindfulness-trainings-.html