Our Order of Service

Download the official order of service (pdf) our sangha created and uses for leading meditation service.  If you would like a physical copy we have them available and ask a $10 donation to cover the costs of printing.

The sangha spent more then 300 hrs working on this service booklet and we are so grateful to all the board members who made it possible


Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County Order of Service

“The mind is everything. What you think you  become.”
Third Edition June 2012
Dedicated to: our loving teachers all Bodhisattvas past, present & future bsbc members visitors and guests dedicated practitioners all sentient beings
Table of Contents
Introduction
Protocol
Order of Service
Section 1 – Regular Weekly Readings

  • The Three Refuges
  • The Four Immeasurables
  • Short Refuge Prayer
  • Long Refuge Prayer
  • Cultivating the Mind of Enlightenment
  • Altruistic Motivation
  • Long Life Prayer
    (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama)
  • Action Bodhicitta Prayer
  • A Prayer to Recognize my Own Faults and Keep in Mind the Objects of Refuge
  • Metta Sutta
  • The Noble Eight Fold Path
  • Sharing Loving Kindness
  • Choices
  • Four Great Vows for All
  • Gatha on Impermanence
  • Four Bodhisattva Vows
  • Sharing the Merit
  • Evening Gatha

Section 2 – Readings for Occasional Use
Heart Sutra
The Identity of Relative and Absolute    (Sandokai)
Heart of the Prajnaparamita
Tonglen (Short Prayer)
Tonglen – (Guided Meditation)
Eight Verses  for  Training  the Mind
Section 3 – Ceremonies
Welcoming New Members
Ceremony   for  Our Deceased Loved Ones
Green Tara Meditation
Dedication Prayer
Section 4 – Chants and Music
Incense offering
Three Refuges Chant
Om Mani Padme Hum
Refuge Chant
On Compassion
Breathing Song
Glossary of Terms
References / Resources
Information on BSBC

Introduction

The Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County was orga- nized in June 2000 with the idea that we would present, teach and practice Buddhism. As a Sangha we would provide meditation instruction and community services in a manner consistent with the teaching of the Buddha. Our order of service and readings are intended to capture the teach- ings of the Buddha from the major traditions or schools. Buddhism has many outstanding and meaningful schools, and our selection of readings, traditions, and rituals, are taken from these various traditions. We do not aspire to just one tradition but attempt to learn from all the traditions.

In early Buddhist history, all sermons and teach- ings were spoken and committed to memory. It  was only later those scriptures were written down on leaves and then paper. Variation in interpreta- tion by different people of the same principle could arise. Furthermore, it was also highly possible that the Buddha gave a variety of teachings to different people to suit individual aptitude, ability and inter- est. He also instructed his followers to not accept his teachings or for that matter, others’ teaching without thoroughly investigating them and coming to one’s own acceptance of what is true.

The different schools of Buddhism reflect different cultural attributes, which were influenced by the route where Buddhism propagated geographically. e.g. The Theravada tradition spread south to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, etc.; the Mahayana tradition went northwards to Vietnam, China, Japan, etc..

The two major schools of Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana, are to be understood as different expressions of the same teaching of the historical Buddha.

Despite the differences in traditions, it must be stressed that doctrinally, there is absolutely no disagreement concerning the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) as contained in the sacred texts

Theravada and Mahayana

The two Major Schools of Buddhism* are: The Theravada School (The Way of the Elders) and The Mahayana School (The Great Vehicle).

– Tipitaka. Also, it must be emphasized that Buddhism teaches tolerance, and it would be counter-productive to discriminate one tradition/ sect against another. Diversity in tradition should not be the issue here; the application of the Buddha’s teachings for the common good of all beings should be the key. What good does it do if one keeps saying that “I’m of a certain tradition which is superior to another tradition” per se? At the end of the day, it pays to remember that the Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dharma – the way to liberation – which is universal.

Aart Van Der Leeuw (a Dutch poet and novelist as well as a spiritualist) said, “The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” We each have our own path to take in life and the choices we make along that path are either a help or a hindrance to our awareness of the true reality of being.

*Buddha Dharma Education Association and BuddhaNet; Buddhist Studies @ Buddha Dharma Education Association and BuddhaNet; Buddhist Studies

Protocol
Meditation Hall Guidelines

Please observe silence in the meditation hall.  Please leave your shoes outside the meditation hall. Please silence cell phones.
If you would like, please bow to the altar in respect for the Buddha’s teaching before sitting. If you would like, please bow toward your cushion in respect for your practice and towards others in respect for their practice. If you arrive during a meditation period, observe silence and take a seat at the rear of the hall.
If you arrive during walking meditation, please take a seat outside the hall and wait until the walking meditation is over. Join us for the last sitting meditation.
Please remain still during sitting meditation. If you need to move, please do so quietly.
During sitting meditation, your eyes can be open or closed. If open, let your gaze fall at a 45-degree angle with the floor.
During walking meditation, keep your hands folded at the waist and your eyes gazing at a 45-degree angle with the floor. When walking, concentrate on moving your legs and feet and keep your mind in the present moment. Because we move differently in walking meditation, it may feel odd at first. Just be careful and keep your concentration on your movement, so you can continue to see the mind-body process.

Advice for Meditation
One way to meditate is by counting the breath.  Feel the breath at some specific point in the body. Some schools (such as Zen) focus on the hara, the point within the abdomen a few inches below the navel. Others, (such as the Theravadan) recom- mend that you focus your attention on the feeling of the breath at the rim of the nostrils. It’s OK to experiment and find the most comfortable point  of focus. When you have chosen a focus, stick with it, and don’t let the point wander aimlessly.

When you are able to consistently count to ten without losing the count, you might want to move on to following the breath. Just notice the stages of the breath and the pause at the end of each inhalation or exhalation. Let your breath move at its  own pace and rhythm. Do not try to make it faster or slower or try to regulate it in any other way. The thing that you are trying to do is to be mindfully aware, not to control.

When thoughts and other distractions arise, you must decide how to deal with them. The important thing is to just notice what is happening and continue to meditate. Some schools advise that the meditator emphasize concentration and move back to the subject of meditation as soon as possible.

Other sects believe that the distractions themselves are just as good a subject of meditation as the primary object, so you should be mindful of the distraction until it disappears. When your mind is really scattered you may find that an emphasis on concentration makes you calmer.

At other times you may feel a need to mindfully examine the distractions that come up. The most important thing is to be sure that you maintain a clear awareness of something at all times and don’t let your mind drift off to where you have neither mindfulness nor concentration.

Order of Service
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Welcoming and Opening Words
First Readings
45-Minute Sitting Meditation
Note: After the first set of readings, a bell will be rung 3 times to indicate the beginning of the meditation period. After 20 minutes, a bell will be struck once to signal an optional 5 minute walking meditation. Those who are walking, will

return quietly to their seats (cushions) and resume sitting for the remainder of the 45 minutes. A bell will be rung two times to indicate the end of the meditation period.
Second Readings Closing

After the first hour, we adjourn to the social hall for an hour of Dharma discussion and refreshments.

SECTION 1

Regular Weekly Readings

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 the Buddha,
I clearly see the path of light and beauty in this world.
Dwelling in the refuge of the Dharma, I learn to open many doors on the path of transformation.
Dwelling in the refuge of the Sangha, shining light that supports me, I keep 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.
(Two Bells)

The Four Immeasurables

(Repeat 3 times)
May all mother sentient beings, boundless as the sky, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be separated from the happiness that is free from sorrow. May they rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

Short Refuge Prayer

(Repeat 3 times)

In the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha most excellent, I take refuge until enlightenment is reached.
By the merit of generosity and other good deeds, may I attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.

Long Refuge Prayer

We take refuge in the kind root and lineage lamas.
We take refuge in the deities of the mandalas and the yidams. We take refuge in all the exalted Buddhas
We take refuge in the perfect Dharma.
We take refuge in the excellent order of the Sangha.
We take refuge in all the noble dakas, dakinis and dharma-guardians – possessors of the eye of wisdom

Cultivating the Mind of Enlightenment

(Repeat 3 times)

Until I attain the heart of enlightenment, I take refuge in all the Buddhas,
I take refuge in the Dharma, and likewise, in the assembly of the Bodhisattvas.
As the previous Buddhas embraced the enlightened mind and progressed on the Bodhisattva’s path,
I too, for the benefit of all sentient beings, give birth to Bodhicitta and apply myself to accomplish the stages of the path.

Altruistic Motivation

All mother sentient beings, especially those enemies who hate me, obstructers who harm me, and those who create obstacles on my path to liberation and omniscience.

May they experience happiness, be separated from suffering, and swiftly will I establish them in the state of unsurpassed, perfect, complete and precious Buddhahood.

Long Life Prayer

(His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama)

For this realm encircled by snow covered mountains,
You are the source of every benefit and bliss without exception. Tenzin Gyatso, you who are one with Avalokiteshvara,
May you remain steadfast until samsara’s end.

Action Bodhicitta Prayer

Thus, until I achieve enlightenment, I perform virtuous deeds with body, speech and mind.
Until death, I perform virtuous deeds with body speech and mind.
From now until this time tomorrow, I perform virtuous deeds with body, speech and mind.

Prayer to Recognize My Own Faults and Keep in Mind the Objects of Refuge

Bless me to see my own faults.
Bless me to have no desire to examine the faults of others.  Bless me to pacify all turbulent, cruel, and disturbing thoughts. Bless me to have good thoughts arise from deep within.
Bless me to reduce craving and to increase contentment. Bless me to remember that the time of death is uncertain. Bless me to generate great confidence in the Dharma.
Bless me to practice impartial pure perception.
Bless me to develop uncontrived respect and devotion.
Bless me to reduce mental activity about unobtainable things. Bless me to establish the Dharma in the depths of my mind. Bless me to go with diligence to the depths of Dharma practice.
Bless me to liberate my mind-stream, which is the ultimate goal of practice. Bless me to be freed of obstacles in my practice.
Bless me to have the results of my practice ripen immediately. Bless me to destroy the duality of hope and fear.
Bless me to see the non-dual primordial wisdom.
Bless me to recognize the self-face of my own primordial wisdom. Bless me to abide in the secure place within myself.
Bless me to gain the great certainty without effort.

Metta Sutta

He 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 of by the wise ones.

And this is what he or she contemplates:
May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
May all living beings live in security and peace- beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate 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 this 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, those who practice boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death.

The Noble Eightfold Path

This is the middle path which the Perfect One discovered and expounded, which gives rise to vision and knowledge, which leads to peace, wisdom, enlightenment, and nibbana–the noble eightfold path:

Right Understanding
of suffering of its origin
of its cessation
of the way leading to the cessation of suffering
Right Intentions
of renunciation, free from craving of good will, free from aversion  of compassion, free from cruelty
Right Speech
abstaining from false speech abstaining from malicious speech abstaining from harsh speech abstaining from useless speech
Right Action
abstaining from taking life abstaining from stealing
abstaining from sexual misconduct
Right Livelihood
giving up wrong livelihood, one earns ones living by a right form of livelihood
Right Effort
to prevent unarisen unwholesome mental states from arising
to abandon unwholesome mental states that have already arisen to develop wholesome mental states that have not yet arisen
to maintain and perfect wholesome mental states already arisen
Right Mindfulness
mindful contemplation of the body mindful contemplation of feelings mindful contemplation of the mind mindful contemplation of mental objects
Right Concentration
wholesome one-pointedness of mind

Sharing Loving Kindness

1. May I be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to me. May no difficulties come to me. May no problems come to me. May I always meet with success. May I also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

2. May my parents be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them, May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

3. May my teachers be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage. understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

4. May my relatives be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

5. May my friends be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

6. May all indifferent persons be well happy and peaceful May no harm come to them, May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them, May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

7. May my enemies be well, happy and peaceful May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

8. May all living beings be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to them, May no difficulties come to them, May no problems come to them, May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

Choices

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow you, As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you, As your shadow, unshakable.
How can a troubled mind understand the way?
Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.

Four Great Vows for all

(Read all three together once)
Japanese:
Shi-gu Sei-gan Mom
Shu-jou Mu-hen Sei-gan Do Bon-nou Mu-jin Sei-gan Dan
Hou-mon Mu-ryou Seigan Gaku` Butsu-dou Mu-jou Sei-gan Jou

Beings are numberless, I vow to save them all; Delusions are endless, I vow to extinguish them all; Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to learn them all; The Buddha Way is supreme, I vow to attain it.
Numberless beings – set free; Endless delusion – let go; Countless Dharma – see through; Peerless Way – manifest!

Gatha on Impermanence

The day is now ended.
Our lives are shorter.
Let us look carefully.
What have we done?
Noble Sangha, with all our heart,
Let us be diligent,
Engaging in the practice.
Let us live deeply,
Free from our afflictions,
Aware of impermanence So that life does not Drift away without meaning.
(bell, bell)

Four Bodhisattva Vows

(chant 3 times)
All beings without number I vow to liberate Endless blind passions I vow to uproot
Dharma gates beyond measure I vow to pass through The great way of Buddha I vow to attain

Sharing the Merit

Beginning anew, 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 and friends, and numerous beings who give guidance and support along the path

Evening Gatha

Let me respectfully remind you, life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by, and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken: Awaken! Take heed; do not squander your life.

SECTION 2

Readings for Occasional Use

Heart Sutra

Thus have I heard:
Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagrha at Vulture Peak mountain, together with a great gather- ing of the Sangha of monks and a great gathering of the Sangha of bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called profound illumination, and at the same time noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva Mahasattva, while practicing the profound Prajnaparamita, saw in this way: he saw the five skandhas to be empty of nature.

Then, through the power of the Buddha, venerable Sariputra said to noble Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, “How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to practice the profound Prajnaparamita?”

Addressed in this way, noble Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva said to venerable Sariputra, “O, Sariputra, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to practice the profound Prajnaparamita should see in this way: seeing the five skandhas to be empty of nature. Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness are emptiness. Thus, Sariputra, all Dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase.

Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no Dharmas; no eye dhatu up to no mind dhatu, no dhatu of Dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no end of old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no nonattainment.

Therefore, Sariputra, since the Bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by means of Prajnaparamita. Since there is no obscuration of mind, there is no fear. They transcend falsity and attain complete nirvana. All the Buddhas of the three times, by means of Prajnaparamita, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment. Therefore, the great mantra of Prajnaparamita, the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequaled mantra, the mantra that calms all suffering, should be known as truth, since there is no deception. The Prajnaparamita mantra is said in this way:

Tayata Om Gate Gate Para – Gate Para – Sum- Gate Bodhi Svaha

Thus, Sariputra, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva should train in the profound Prajnaparamita.” Then the Blessed One arose from that samadhi and praised noble Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, saying, “Good, good, O son of noble family; thus it is, O son of noble family, thus it is. One should practice the profound Prajnaparamita just as you have taught and all the Tathagatas will rejoice.”

When the Blessed One has said this, venerable Sariputra and noble Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, asuras, and gandharvas rejoiced and praised the words of the Blessed One.

The Identity of Relative and Absolute

(Sandōkai)

The mind of the Great Sage of India was intimately conveyed from west to east.
Among human beings are wise ones and fools, But in the Way there is no northern or southern Patriarch.

The subtle source is clear and bright; the tributary streams flow through the darkness. To be attached to things is illusion; to encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.

Each and all, the subjective and objective spheres are related and at the same time, independent. Related, yet working differently, though each keeps its own place.

Form makes the character and appearance different; Sounds distinguish comfort and discomfort. The dark makes all words one; the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.

The four elements return to their nature as a child to its mother. Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard.

Eyes see, ears hear, nose smells, tongue tastes the salt and sour.

Each is independent of the other; cause and effect must return to the great reality. Like leaves that come from the same root.

The words high and low are used relatively.

Within light there is darkness, but do not try to understand that darkness; within darkness there is light, but do not look for that light.

Light and darkness are a pair, like the foot before and the foot behind, in walking. Each thing has its own intrinsic value and is related to everything else in function and position.

Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.

The absolute works together with the relative, like two arrows meeting in mid-air. Reading words you should grasp the great reality. Do not judge by any standards. If you do not see the Way, you do not see it even as you walk on it.

When you walk the Way, it is not near, it is not far.

If you are deluded, you are mountains and rivers away from it.

I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened: Do not waste your time by night or day.

Heart of the Prajnaparamita

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, while deeply immersed in Prajnaparamita, clearly perceived the empty nature of the five skandhas and transcended all suffering. Sariputra! Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different from form. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. So it is with feeling, conception, volition, and consciousness.

Sariputra! All Dharmas are empty in character; neither arising nor ceasing, neither impure nor pure, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness, there is no form; there is no feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no Dharmas; no realm of vision, and so forth, up to no realm of mind- consciousness; no ignorance, no ending of ignorance, and so forth, up to no aging and no death nor ending of aging and death.

There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path; There is no wisdom and no attainment. There is nothing to be attained.

By way of Prajnaparamita, the bodhisattva’s mind is free from hindrances. With no hindrances, there is no fear; freed from all distortion and delusion, ultimate nirvana is reached. By way of Prajnaparamita, Buddhas of the past, present, and future, attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

Therefore, Prajnaparamita is the great powerful mantra, the great enlightening mantra, the supreme and peerless mantra. It can remove all suffering. This is the truth beyond all doubt. And the Prajnaparamita mantra is spoken thus:

Gate Gate Para Gate Para Sam Gate Bodhi Svaha

Tonglen

(Short Prayer)

Having recognized the futility of my selfishness and the great benefit of loving others, may I bring all beings to joy. May I send all my virtues and happiness to others through the strength of my practice, and may I receive the suffering, obstacles, and defilements of all motherly beings in all realms.

Tonglen

(Guided Meditation)

Please close your eyes. Allow yourself to be here in this very moment. Bring your attention to

your breath and let go of all your thoughts, don’t hold onto memories of the past nor anticipate the future. Relax into this very moment without any effort, as if you’re floating on water.

Now form with this place of serenity, visualize all living being from all realms of existence filling the space in front of you. You might like to visualize specific persons, such as your parents, relatives

and friends or people who caused you harm. You might also like to visualize people who are in great need, those who are sick and dying, or suffering from all kinds of external and internal adversities.

Feel that your heart is opening to embrace all of their pain and sorrow as your own. Imagine you  are taking in their suffering in the form of a dark cloud, which enters through your nostrils with your inhalation. Let your heart expand to the limits of the universe with empathy for their suffering. Again and again, let your heart be filled with this cloud of universal suffering with your incoming breath.

Now, when we exhale, imagine that you’re sending love, compassion and happiness in the form of brilliant rays of golden light which extend to the furthest reaches of the universe and enter the hearts and minds of all living being everywhere. Please keep sending this golden light with each exhalation.

Imagine that everyone without exception is receiving your gift, which results in freeing all beings from every form of suffering, and they begin to experience Bodhichitta – the heart of boundless love and ecstatic insight.

Think that through this generosity, every living being now enjoys complete and perfect liberation. May everyone in the world transcend erroneous views about the true nature of reality, finding freedom and happiness within themselves. May there be peace throughout all realms! May this universe be blessed by the power of love, compassion and wisdom!

Eight Verses for Training the Mind

With the heartfelt desire and determination to attain enlightenment for the welfare of all living beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel for accomplishing the supreme goal, may I always cherish them and hold them dear.

Whenever I am with others, may I think of myself as the lowest of all and from the very depths of my heart may I respectfully hold others as supreme. There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path; there is no wisdom and no attainment. There is nothing to be attained.

In all actions, may I closely examine my state of mind, and the moment a disturbing emotion or negative attitude arises, since this may cause harm to myself and others, may I firmly face and avert it.

Whenever I meet people of unpleasant character or those overwhelmed by negativity, pain or suffering, may I cherish and care for them as if I had found a rare and precious treasure difficult to find.

Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly with abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways, may I accept this defeat myself and offer the victory to others.

When someone whom I have benefited or in whom I have placed great trust and hope harms me or treats me in hurtful ways without reason, may I see that person as my precious teacher.

In brief, may I offer both directly and indirectly all help, happiness and benefit to all beings, my mothers, and may I secretly take upon myself all of their harmful actions, pain and suffering.

May I keep all of these practices undefiled by stains of the eight worldly concerns (gain/loss, pleasure/pain, praise/blame, fame/dishonor), and by recognizing the emptiness and illusory nature of all existing things, may I be liberated from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality.

SECTION 3

Ceremonies

Welcoming New Members

Introduction: The inexhaustible virtues of the World-Honored-One cannot be adequately praised.
We in the name of the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County, on this day gather as a fourfold Sangha, come to meditate and recite praise for the virtuous actions of the Buddha, and offer this prayer:
May the path of the Buddha grow brighter. May the Dharma become clearer.
May the wind and rain be favorable.
May this country be at peace in the cities and rural areas. May all follow the way of right practice.
May nature be safe.
May people in society be free and equal.
May the refreshing breeze of compassion enter into this world of heat, allowing the sun of wisdom to shine in the cloudy sky so that the path of liberation is appreciated everywhere and the Dharma rain falls, benefiting all species.
May the Sangha that is present here practice diligently, showing concern and love for each other as they would for their own family, transforming their consciousness. We aspire to follow the example of the Bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Avalokitesvara and all other Bodhisattva Mahasattvas and the Great Perfection of Wisdom.

Read by all:

Ceremony for Our Deceased Loved Ones

(Three bells)

The Dharma is deep and lovely. We now have a chance to see it, study it, and practice it. We vow to realize its true meaning.  (Bell)
Said by the leader of the ceremony:
Today the community has gathered to recite and practice the sutras, invoking the Buddhas’ and bodhisattvas’ names, to make offerings, and to transfer the merits to [Name(s) of deceased].

We ask the community to listen with a quiet mind. Parents and grandparents, whether they have left this life or not are present in their children and grandchildren. The life of the ancestors carries on in the lives of children and grandchildren. According to the Buddha, the peace and joy of the children and grandchildren are the peace and joy of the parents, grandparents and all ancestors. With a feeling of calm, clarity and peace, we will make possible the calm, clarity and peace of those who have left this life.
Let us all recite the Contemplation on No-Coming and No-Going
Recited by all present:
This body is not me. I am not limited by this body. I am life without boundaries. I have never been born, and I have never died.
Since before time I have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide and seek. So laugh with me, hold my hand, let us say good-bye, say goodbye, to meet again soon.
We meet today. We will meet again tomorrow. We will meet at the source of every moment. We will meet each other in all forms of life. (Bell)
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 an open heart and one-pointed mind I turn to the three jewels. (Bell)

The Fully Enlightened One, beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling, a loving source of understanding and compassion. To the Buddha I go for refuge.  (Bell)
The path of mindful living, leading to healing, joy and enlightenment, the way of peace, To the Dharma I go for refuge.  (Bell)
The loving and supportive community of practice, realizing harmony, awareness, and liberation. To the Sangha I go for refuge. (Bell)
I am aware that the three Gems are within my heart; I vow to realize them,
practicing mindful breathing, smiling, and looking deeply into things. I vow to understand living beings and their suffering. I vow to cultivate loving kindness and compassion and to practice joy and equanimity.  (Bell)
I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning, and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon. I vow to live simply and sanely with few possessions, and to keep my body healthy. I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free. (Bell)
I am aware that I owe much to my parents, teachers, friends, spouse and all beings. I vow to practice wholeheartedly so that understanding and compassion will flower, empower- ing living beings to be free from suffering. May the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha support my efforts.

Said by the leader of the ceremony:

It is time to bring to mind [Name(s) of deceased] and send the energy of loving-kindness and compassion to them. Let us sit in meditation and enjoy our breathing for a few moments, allowing [Name(s) of deceased] to be present with us. With all our heart and one pointed mind, let us begin anew for the benefit of ourselves and our beloved ones.

(A period of time will be set aside for silent meditation at the end of which we participate in the Green Tara Ceremony .)

Green Tara

Visualization and Mantra Recitation

In the space before you, on a lotus and moon disc appears green Tara. Her body is made of green light, transparent like a rainbow.
Her left leg is drawn up in lotus posture to symbolize control over desire.
Her right leg is extended, symbolizing that she is ready to rise to the aid of all beings.
Her left hand is at her heart in the gesture of giving refuge: the palm facing outward, thumb & ring finger touching, the other fingers raised.

Her right hand is on her right knee, in the gesture of giving high realizations: the palm faces outwards, thumb & index finger touching, the other fingers pointing down.

Both hands hold a blue tupelo flower.
She is very beautiful, dressed in celestial silks, and smiles at you.
Think of your problems, needs and aims and request Tara’s help from your heart.
Then she shines white light from her forehead into your forehead, eliminating problems and negativities of your body, do some mantras:
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA
Next she shines red light from her throat into your throat, eliminating obstacles and negativities of your speech, do some mantras:
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA
Next she shines blue light from her heart into your heart, eliminating all obstacles and negativities of your mind, do some mantras:
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA
Try to feel you are now free from all hindrances and problems, and that you have received the inspiration and energy to accomplish your aims.
Then Tara comes to the crown of your head, facing the same way as you.
She dissolves into green light, which descends into your heart center.
Your mind merges with Tara’s mind. Keep this feeling as long as possible.

Dedication Prayer

By this virtue, may I achieve the all-knowing state and may all who travel on the waves of birth, old age, sickness and death, cross the ocean of samsara by defeating all enemies – confusion (the cause of suffering).

Like the turquoise dragon thundering Over Drowo Lung in the South, You translated into Tibetan Teachings of the Hearing Lineage – the translator, Marpa Lotsawa. Remembering again and again, I pray with single-minded yearning.

Please bless me; may I become like you.

Like rain falling on Lachi Mountain, Teachings of the Hearing Lineage spiral like water into a lake – The glorious Vajra of Laughter (Milarepa). Remembering again and again, I pray with single-minded yearning. Please bless me; may I become like you.

Like the saturated soil in The Daklha Gampo hills in the East, The Clear Light waters flow constantly – The glorious Lord of Physicians (Gampopa). Remember- ing again and again, I pray with single-minded yearning. Please bless me, may I become like you.

Like shoots sprouting in Phagmodru opening the trove of the secret words – the Lord, the self-arisen Buddha (Phagmodrupa). Remembering again and again, I pray with single-minded yearning.

Please bless me; may I become like you

SECTION 4

Chants & Music

Incense Offering

In gratitude we offer this incense to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.
May it be as 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.

Three Refuges Chant

(Repeated as many times as you want)

1. Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Sangham Saranam Gacchami

2. Dutiyampi Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dutiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Dutiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchami

3. Tatiyampi Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Tatiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Tatiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchami

4. I go for refuge in the Buddha.
I go for refuge in the Dharma.
I go for refuge in the Sangha.

“Om Mani Padme Hum”

(Repeated as many times as you want)

Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum

Refuge Chant

Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato samma sambuddhasa Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato samma sambuddhasa Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato samma sambuddhasa

Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Worthy One, The supremely Enlightened One Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Worthy One, The supremely Enlightened One Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Worthy One, The supremely Enlightened One

On Compassion

(Short Chenrezig Practice)

Faultless Lord, body white in color,
Your head adorned with perfect Buddha, Your eyes of great compassion see all, We make this prayer to you, Chenrezig:

Breathing Song

1. Breathing in, breathing out,
Breathing in, breathing out,
I am blooming as a flower,
I am fresh as the dew.

2. I am solid as a mountain,
I am firm as the earth,
I am free.

3. Breathing in, breathing out,
Breathing in, breathing out,
I am water, reflecting,
What is real, what is true.

4. And I feel there is space
Deep inside of me,
I am free, I am free, I am free.

Glossary of Terms

Bodhicitta – The awakening mind; sometimes translated as the mind of love, because it is our awakened nature that impels us to love beings unconditionally and our understanding that enables us to do this.

Bodhisattva – Literally, “enlightened being” one committed to enlightening oneself and others so that all may be liberated from suffering.

Buddha – The Awakened One; refers also to the capacity within every being to be “awake” or “enlight- ened”. [One part of the “Three Jewels”: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha]

Dharma – The true teachings of the Awakened One, the path of understanding and love. [One part of the “Three Jewels”: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha]

Gatha – A short poem or verse that we can recite during our daily activities to help us dwell in mindfulness.

Karma – In Buddhism, karma (Pāli kamma) is categorized within the group or groups of cause in the chain of cause and effect, where it comprises the elements of “volitional activities” and “action”. Any action is understood as creating “seeds” in the mind that will sprout into the appropriate result when met with the right conditions.

Nirvana – The extinction of all view and concepts and the suffering based on them, to have no attach- ments to the realm of birth and death; refers to the intimate reality.

Prajñaparamita – (perfection of Wisdom) ‘Prajna’ means ‘wisdom.’ ‘Paramita’ means a crossing over, or going beyond.

Sangha – Is an “association” or “assembly,” “company” or “community” with common goal, vision or purpose, as in the studying of the Dharma. [One part of the “Three Jewels”: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha]

Suffering – Dukkha in Pāli; Sanskrit: Dukkha; ) in Buddhist terms meaning “stress”, “anxiety”, dis-ease or “dissatisfaction”. It refers to a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance.

Sutta – (Pali; Sanskrit: sūtra) refers to a “discourse” in the Pali canon attributed to the Buddha or one of his disciples.

References / Resources

Section 1 – Regular Weekly Readings

1.The Three Refuges: (page 6) The refuges in Buddhism, both on the internal and on the external levels, are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, also known as the Triple Gem. To take refuge in the Buddha means, not taking refuge in him as a person, but taking refuge in the fact of his Awakening: placing trust in the belief that he

did awaken to the truth, that he did so by developing qualities that we too can develop, and that the truths to which he awoke provide the best perspective for the conduct of our life. The Dharma, on the external level, refers to the path of practice the Buddha taught to his followers: The words of his teachings, the act of putting those teachings into practice, and the attainment of Awakening as the result of that practice. The Sangha consists of all people, lay or ordained, who have practiced the Dharma to the point of gaining at least a glimpse of the Deathless. – From Commentary by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

2. The Four Immesurables: (page 6) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

3.  Short Refuge Prayer: (page 7) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

4. Long Refuge Prayer: (page 7) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

5. Cultivating the Mind of Enlightenment: (page 7) From the Five Profound Paths of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa, “Four Ways of Turning the Mind”

6. Altruistic Motivation: (page 8) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

7. Long Life Prayer: (page 8) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

8. Action Bodhicitta Prayer: (page 8) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

9. Prayer to Recognize My Own faults and Keep in Mind the Objects of Refuge: (page 9) Written by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1988)

10. Metta Sutta: (page 10) Adapted from a Theravadan Buddhist text and published in “A Joyful Path” by Thich Nhat Hanh.

11. The Noble Eightfold Path: (page 11) Adapted from the Vandana books of the Bhavana Society and the Washington Buddhist Vihara.

12. Sharing Loving Kindness: (page 12) From the Vandana books of the Bhavana Society and the Washington Buddhist Vihara Adapted

13. Choices: (page 13) Choices is from the Dhammapada, translated by Thomas Byrom and published in The Teachings of Buddha; edited by Jack Kornfield

14. Four Great Vows for All: (page 13) The Four Bodhisattva Vows are from the Zen tradition.

15. Gatha on Impermanence: (page 14) Adapted from a Theravadan Buddhist text and published in Chanting and Recitation Book by Thich Nhat Hanh.

16. The Four Bodhisattva Vows: (page 14) The Four Bodhisattva Vows are from the Jeff Shore, lay Buddhist and professor at Hanazono University, Kyoto, Japan, in the Zen tradition

17. Sharing the Merit: (page 14) Whatever benefits we derive from study and practice should be shared so that all sentient beings attain Enlightenment. Just as a drop of water, if thrown in the ocean, will merge with the whole and not dry out unless the ocean does, so will our achievements, if dedicated to all beings, merge with all and not be lost until one attains Enlightenment. – Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche. Adapted by Thich Nhat Hanh.

18. Evening Gatha: (page 14) The Evening Gatha is from Zen Mountain Monastery. Thich Nhat Hahn, Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices

Section 2 – Additional Reading for Occasional / Personal Use
  1. Heart Sutra: (page 16) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

2. The Identity of Relative Absolute: (page 17) The Sandōkai is a poem by the eighth Chinese Zen ancestor Shitou Xiqian (Sekito Kisen, 700–790) and a fundamental text of the Sōtō school of Zen, chanted daily in temples throughout the world.

3. Heart Prajnaparamita: (page 18) A composite from various traditions and is used as a shorter reading.

4. Tonglen: (Short Prayer) (page 19) From the “Living and Dying Project”- to create a sense of spaciousness in which the giving and receiving can take place

5. Tonglen: (Guided Meditation) (page 19) Princeton Buddhist Meditation Group, Princeton, NJ

6. Eight Verses for Training the Mind: (page 20) Composed by the Buddhist Master Langri Tangpa (1054-1123), Eight Verses for Training the Mind is a highly-revered text from the Mahayana Lojong tradition.

Section 3 – Ceremonies

1. Welcoming New Members: (page 22) The heart of this ceremony comes from a Buddhist prayer “Praising

the Buddha” and is frequently said on his birthday – Vesak Day. Two sources are http://blag.biz/node/48 and http://isanghamahal.blogspot.com/2005/05/vesak-celebration-deer-park-monastery.html

2. Ceremony for Our Deceased Loved Ones: (page 23) This ceremony has been adapted from the Ceremony for the Deceased composed by Thich Nhat Hanh and found in the Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book.

3. Green Tara: (page 25) Green Tara known as the Buddha of enlightened activity 4. Dedication Prayer: (page 26) From the Bodhicitta Foundation Prayer Book 6

Section 4 – Chants and Music
  1. Incense Offering: (page 28) Princeton Buddhist Meditation Group, Princeton NJ

3. The Three Refuges Chant: (page 28) In the Theravada tradition, it is customary to pay homage to the Buddha, recite the Three Refuges and undertake to observe the Pancca Sila (Pansil) on visiting a place of worship or

at the start of a Buddhist ceremony. One can recite the Refuge Chant by oneself or invite a Buddhist monk to administer them. The monk will recite each stanza in the ancient language of Pali and the devotee should repeat it after him.

3. Om Mani Padme Hum: (page 28) “Praise to the jewel in the lotus” – It contains the essence of the Buddha’s Teaching.

4.Refuge Chant: (page 29) In the Theravada tradition, “A View on Buddhism”

5. On Compassion: (page 29) “Praise to the jewel in the lotus” – Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer) over and over again, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. It is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable “Om” it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, “Ma” helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and “Ni” helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. “Päd”, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, “Me” helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable “Hum” helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

6. Breathing Song: (page 29) Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village. Music and lyrics by Plum Village – A Buddhist Hymn sung at an English Dharma Study Group Camp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfo1qksqPzc

Information on Our BSBC Sangha Community

Sangha

The Pali word “Sangha” literally means “group” or “congregation”, but when it is used in the suttas, the word usually refers to the community of Buddhist Monastics.

At the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County, we take it to mean our community of lay practitioners who have found meaning in our lives from the teachings of the Buddha, and who wish to learn and practice more deeply.

Community Service

The Buddha taught that “One should conquer anger through kindness, wickedness through goodness, selfishness through charity, and falsehood through truthfulness” (Dhammapada, XVII, 3). As we are interdependent with all things, without a ‘sepa- rate self ’, we find freedom from suffering in selfless action.

Membership

Membership in the Sangha is not required. It is available if and when one wishes to deepen one’s relationship with the community.

Weddings and Funerals

We recognize the deep importance of life events and changes. We will celebrate, mourn and understand with you at your invitation. If formal ceremonies are required, we will endeavor to locate a qualified monastic representative.

If You Need Support

“Silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened   mind.”
Buddha