The Refuge ChantAt the foot of the Bodhi tree,
beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling,
the living source of understanding and compassion,
to the Buddha I go for refuge.
The path of mindful living,
The loving and supporting community of practice,
I am aware that the three gems are within my heart.
I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning
I am aware that I owe much to my parents,
Evoking the Bodhisattva's NamesWe evoke your name, Avalokiteshvara. We aspire to learn your way of listening in order to help relieve the suffering in the world. You know how to listen in order to understand. We evoke your name in order to practice listening with all our attention and open-heartedness. We will sit and listen without any prejudice. We will sit and listen without judging or reacting. We will sit and listen in order to understand. We will sit and listen so attentively that we will be able to hear what the other person is saying and also what has been left unsaid. We know just by listening deeply we already alleviate a great deal of pain and suffering in the other person.
We evoke your name, Kshitigarbha. We aspire to learn your way so as to be present where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair, so that we may bring light, hope, relief and liberation to those places. We are determined not to forget about or abandon those who are in desperate situations. We will do our best to establish contact with them when they cannot find a way out of their suffering and when their cries for help, justice, equality, and human rights are not heard. We know that hell can be found in many places on earth and we do not want to contribute to making more hells on earth. Rather we want to help unmake the hells that already exist. We will practice to realize the qualities of perserverance and stability that belong to the earth and so that, like the earth, we can always be supportive and faithful to those who need us.
Discourse on LoveHe or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved by the wise ones.
May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate the Boundless Love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. We should let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below, and across. Our love will know no obstacles, our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
Free from wrong views, greed and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, whose who practice Boundless Love will certainly transcend Birth and Death.
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow.
Breathing in, I feel calm. Breathing out, I feel at ease. I am not struggling any more.
Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxieties.
Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.
Another practice of mindful breathing is the counting of breath. When you breathe in count one and when you breathe out count one again. The next breath count two and the release of the breath count two again. Do this until you reach ten then count backwards until you reach one.
Incense OfferingIn gratitude, we offer this incense to all buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout space and time.
May it be fragrant as Earth herself, reflecting our careful efforts, our wholehearted awareness, and the fruit of understanding, slowly ripening.
May we and all beings be companions of buddhas and bodhisattvas.
May we awaken from forgetfulness and realize our true home.
This Buddhist service was conducted at the National Conference, Organizing the Religious Community Against the Death Penalty, on Saturday, April 10th at poolside at the Airport Hilton.