East Alabama Buddhist Fellowship

Suggested Daily Practices

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Live with gratitude, joy and compassion

 

The following daily practices are recommended for all East Alabama Buddhist Fellowship’s friends and interested parties. We highly encourage you to diligently practice them on a daily basis so that your life can manifest its potential for peace, gratitude, harmony and compassion. The Buddha said that the mind is a creator; it paints your reality like a artist paints a portrait. Your mind's portrait is the life you are leading right at this moment. Through the practice of daily observances, you can transform your inner reality and “paint” a new life, full of liberation, peace and joy, thereby positively transforming your life and the world you live in.

 

Moreover, these practices serve as daily reminders of our highest spiritual values like Going for Refuge in the Three Jewels and the Shin Affirmation; in addition, they serve as opportunities to deeply hear the primordial call of Boundless Life and Light itself via these spiritual values, quiet sitting meditation and chanting the Juseige. Finally, the Observance ends with the voicing of the nembutsu, as the direct and living manifestation of the Oneness of reality, which is regarded as the embodiment of the Three Jewels and is the consolidation Noble Eightfold Path. Refer to our What is Shin Buddhism? and Becoming a Buddhist  web pages on the Buddhist Faith Fellowship's web site for detailed information on the Buddhist lifestyle and beliefs.

  

Copy and print the following Daily Observance for your personal use. Please read the suggested steps and modify them if needed.

 

I. Face shrine, nembutsu scroll or Buddha image

 

a. Palms in gassho (in reverence) with mallas (meditation beads) wrapped around hands. Sit in chair or cushion.

 

b. Ring bell (three times and then bow) while you do this follow your breathe mindfully.




II. The Candle & Incense Offering

Do one or both of the following:

 

a. Light the Wisdom Candle and recite:

“Mindful of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, I calmly light this candle,
brightening the face of the Earth.” 
(bell & bow)

b. Light the incense and recite:



“In gratitude and joy,

I offer this incense

To the living heart of wisdom and compassion,

Amida, the Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light.”

(bell & bow)

 

III. Recite the Five Remembrances (optional)

 

“I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.


I am of the nature to have ill health.
There is no way to escape having ill health.


I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.


All that is dear to me and everyone I love,

Are of the nature to change.

There is no way to escape,

Being separated from them.


My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape,

The consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.


By relying on the compassion of Buddha,

The wisdom of the Dharma,

And the fellowship of Sangha.

May I realize my true nature

And liberate other beings from suffering.  (bell & bow)

 

III. Going for Refuge in the Three Jewels

(This fundamental practice allows us to entrust ourselves to life’s highest universal

values)

 

I take refuge in the Buddha. May I absorb myself in the living source of understanding,

faith and compassion, and awaken to the boundless Pure Land here and now.

(bell & bow)

 

I take refuge in the Dharma. May I be submerged in the depths of the Teachings and Reality-as-it-is, and gain wisdom as deep as the ocean. (bell & bow)

 

I take refuge in the Sangha. May I live in harmony with all beings, united with the disciples of Buddha, in the spirit of universal oneness and freed from the bondage of selfishness. (bell & bow)

 

Iv. Recite the Shin Buddhist Affirmation. 

 

Entrusting in the Primal Vow of Buddha,

Calling out her Sacred Name,

I shall pass through the journey of life with strength and joy.

 

Revering the Light of Buddha,

Reflecting upon my imperfect self,

I shall proceed to live a life of gratitude.

 

Following the Teachings of Buddha,

Listening to the wholesome Path,

I shall share the Dharma with all.

 

Rejoicing in the compassion of Buddha,

Respecting and aiding all sentient beings,

I shall work towards the welfare of society and the world. (bell & bow)


V. Zen meditation if time permits. Practice meditation to help generate inner silence so you can deeply hear the call of Boundless Life and Light as the Nembutsu-Namu-Amida-Butsu. Sit on a zafu (meditation pillow) or chair for 10-20 minutes.

 

VI. Chant the Juseige & Nembutsu

        

(These chants are viewed as a meditation to hear the primordial calling of Life itself beckoning us to spiritually awaken to Immeasurable Life & Light, symbolized as Amida Buddha)

 

Juseige Chant

Song of Praise

 

The Juseige is the second of three gathas (Songs of Praise) in the primary sutra of Shin Buddhism, The Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life. This sutra passage recounts Chapter 8 of this mythical Sacred Story, in which the Bodhisattva Dharmakara promises to embark on a quest for enlightenment and then makes 48 Vows to the Buddha Lokes-vararaja. After declaring these vows he praises these vows with this gatha (poem).

 

Instructions: Put your hands in gassho and strike the bell and begin to chant one syllable at a time. The underlined words are chanted with 2 beats and the second syllable is not pronounced.

 

Listen to the Juseige and Nembutsu chants.

 

(bell)

BUSSETSU MURYO JUKYO

 

GA GON CHO SE GAN
HIS-SHI MU JO DO
SHI GAN FU MAN ZOKU
SEI FU JO SHO GAKU

GA O MU RYO KO
FU I DAI SE SHU
FU SAI SHO BIN GU
SEI FU JO SHO GAKU

GA SHI JO BUTSU DO
MYO SHO CHO JIP-PO
KU KYO Ml SHO MON
SEI FU JO SHO GAKU

Rl YOKU JIN SHO NEN
JO E SHU BON GYO
SHI GU MU JO DO
I SHO TEN NIN SHI

JIN RIKI EN DAI KO
FU SHO MU SAI DO
SHO JO SAN KU MYO
KO SAI SHU YAKU NAN

KAI Hl CHI E GEN
MES-SHI KON MO AN
HEI SOKU SHO AKU DO
TSU DATSU ZEN SHU MON

KO SO JO MAN ZOKU
I YO RO JIP-PO
NICHI GATSU SHU JU KI
TEN KO ON PU GEN

ISHU KAI HO ZO
KO SE KU DOKU HO
JO O DAI SHU CHU
SEP-PO SHI SHI KU

KU YO IS-SAI BUTSU
GU SOKU SHU TOKU HON
GAN E SHITSU JO MAN
TOKU I SAN GAI O

NYO BUTSU MU GE CHI
TSU DATSU Ml FU SHO
GAN GA KU E RIKI
TO SHI SAI SHO SON

SHI GAN NYAK-KO KA
DAI SEN O KAN DO
KO KU SHO TEN NIN
TO U CHIN MYO KE (bell)

 

NEMBUTSU CHANT (shorten version)

 

 

The Nembutsu Chant is experienced as the call of Life and Light itself, known as the Name-That-Calls. Moreover, it is the living embodiment of Amida Buddha, the manifestation of the Oneness of reality. Shinran Shonin said, "just say the nembutsu and be liberated."

 

As a practice suggestion, visualize the sacred light of Amida, full of warmth, love and compassion, before you and allow yourself to entrust and then totally surrender to this living Light. Then, let the Light penetrate you until you can visualize yourself becoming totally penetrated and embraced by the sacred Light. Then, from deep within your self,  hear the sacred voice calling unto you. Then, chant the nembutsu, as the livng revelation of your infinite nature. Voice the following shorten version 10x, 30x or even 108x.

    

                                     NAM AN DAM BU


 

VII. End Observance

 

After chanting the Nembutsu, ring the bell (three times & then bow)

 

Throughout the day, practice deep hearing; become aware of and entrust in Great Compassion, symbolized as Amida Buddha, which surrounds and sustains you and all beings. Let the feeling of gratitude and compassion arise from within you and recite the Buddha Name, Namu Amida Buddha.

 

Suggestion: Lunch Break Prayer Practice

 

During Lunch break, to help remember the dharma and cultivate deep hearing, compassion and love, you may want to recite The Prayer of Metta-karuna. This beautiful and powerful Pure Land prayer has been adapted from the 8th century Indian Buddhist saint, Shantideva. Recite it with palms in gassho and with mallas wrapped around hands.



”Oneness of Life and Light,
Entrusting in your Great Compassion,
May you shed the foolishness in myself,
Transforming me into your conduit of Eternal Love.
May I be a medicine for the sick and weary,
Nursing their afflictions until they are cured;
May I become food and drink,

During time of famine,
May I protect the helpless and the poor,
May I be a lamp,

For those who need your Light,
May I be a bed for those who need rest,
and guide all seekers to the Other Shore.
May all find happiness through my actions,
and let no one suffer because of me.
Whether they love or hate me,
Whether they hurt or wrong me,
May they all obtain true entrusting,
Through the Primal Vow of Other Power,
and realize the Pure Land.
Namu Amida Butsu.”

 

Suggestion: Buddhist Mealtime Prayer

 

During breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner, practitioners should recite either vocally or in the mind the Prayer of Mealtime Thanksgiving.
 
“This food is the gift of the whole universe,
Each morsel is a sacrifice of life,
May I be worthy to receive it.
May the energy in this food,
Give me the strength,
To transform my unwholesome qualities into wholesome ones.
 

I am grateful for this food,

I accept this sacrifice,
May I realize the Path of Awakening and Love,

for the sake of all beings.

Namu Amida Butsu.”

 

Namu Amida Butsu!