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Gathas for the Practice of Mindful Living

Gathas for the Practice of Mindful Living

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Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

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Published by: Nguyễn Văn Tưởng on Feb 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/18/2012

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Brief Description Have you ever wished for a simpler life an opportunity totransform the stresses of the busyness and complexity of our fast-paced society?
Stepping into Freedom
offers us a look at Buddhistmonastic life and shows us all ways to live simply, beautifully andhappily while dwelling in the present moment. It is a book of guidelines, encouraging words, reminders, and poems for novicemonks and nuns n the Buddhist tradition.Included are basic teachings on conscious breathing, sitting andwalking meditation, and "mindful manners" that can help us reducestress, lead a wholesome and happy life, and cultivate our mind of love, whether in a monastic society or in the larger society of theworld. Thich Nhat Hanh has taught four generations of young monksand nuns in Vietnam and the West, as well as thousands of laypractitioners. In Vietnam he cofounded the An Quang BuddhistInstitute and the Van Hanh Buddhist University. He has studied andtaught at Columbia and Princeton Universities, and the Sorbonne.Sample Chapter 
Gathas for the Practiceof Mindful Living
When I entered Tu Hieu Monastery as a novice in 1942, Ireceived a copy of Gathas for Daily Use, compiled by Chinesemeditation master Duti. Gathas are short verses to recite duringdaily activities to help us return to mindfulness. At Plum Village inFrance, we practice gathas all day long--when we wake up, whenwe enter the meditation hall, during meals, when we wash thedishes, and with each activity. To meditate is to be aware of what isgoing on in our bodies, our feelings, our minds, and the world.Dwelling in the present moment, we can see so many beauties andwonders right before our eyes--a child's smile, the sun rising, theautumn leaves. We can be happy just by being aware of what is infront of us. Practicing with a gatha can help us return to ourselvesand to what is going on in the present moment. It is helpful tomemorize these gathas, a few at first, and more as you go on withthe practice. As you silently recite the first line, breathe in; and asyou silently recite the second line, breathe out. When the gatha is
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finished, continue your activity, and you will find that yourmindfulness has increased. When we drive, road signs help us findour way. We "see" the last sign until the next one appears.Practicing with gathas is the same. When we practice well, thegathas are with us continuously, and we live our whole day inawareness.
1Waking Up
 Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.I vow to live fully in each momentand to look at beings with eyes of compassion.
2Taking the First Steps of the Day
 Walking on the Earthis a miracle!Each mindful stepreveals the wondrous Dharmakaya.
3Stepping out of Bed
 If today I inadvertently step on a small insect,may it not suffer too much.May it be liberated.Homage to the Bodhisattva of the Land of Great Happiness.
4Opening the Window
Opening the window, I look out onto the Dharmakaya.How wondrous is life!Attentive to each moment,my mind is clear like a calm river.
5Turning on the Water
 Water comes from high mountain sources.Water runs deep in the Earth.Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life.My gratitude is filled to the brim.
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6Washing Your Hands
 Water flows over these hands.May I use them skillfullyto preserve our precious planet.
7Brushing Your Teeth
 Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth,I vow to speak purely and lovingly.When my mouth is fragrant with right speech,a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.
8Rinsing Your Mouth
 Rinsing my mouth, my heart is cleansed. The universe is perfumed by flowers.Actions of body, speech, and mind are calmed.Hand in hand with the Buddha, I walk in the Pure Land.
9Using the Toilet
 Defiled or immaculate,increasing or decreasing--these concepts exist only in our mind. The reality of interbeing is unsurpassed.
10Bathing
 Unborn and indestructible,beyond time and spaceÑboth transmission and inheritancelie in the wonderful nature of Dharmadhatu.*
11Looking in the Mirror
 Awareness is a mirrorreflecting the four elements.Beauty is a heart that generates loveand a mind that is open.
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