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 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:
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
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
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
I cannot escape,
The consequences of my actions.
actions are the ground on which I stand.
By relying on the compassion
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
fundamental practice allows us to entrust ourselves to life’s highest universal
I take refuge in the Buddha. May
I absorb myself in the living source of understanding,
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.
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
I shall proceed to live a
life of gratitude.
Following the Teachings of
Listening to the wholesome
I shall share the Dharma
Rejoicing in the compassion
Respecting and aiding all
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
(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)
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