Old Path Sangha Meditation Practice Handbook

Table of Contents
Introduction to Old Path Sangha (OPS).......................................................1 Meditation Practice at OPS......................................................................... 1 Outline of Meditation Practice at OPS..........................................................2 The Four Noble Truths.................................................................................3 The Eightfold Path........................................................................................4 The Three Great Refuge Vows....................................................................5 Heart of the Prajnaparamita.........................................................................6 Heart Sutra in Japanese..............................................................................8 Incense Offering Gatha................................................................................9 Meal Gatha.................................................................................................10 The Five Wonderful Precepts.....................................................................11 The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings..........................................................12 Maitri Meditation.........................................................................................14 Walking Meditation.....................................................................................15 Sangha Songs............................................................................................16 Namu Dai Bosa..........................................................................................18 Books & Resources....................................................................................19

Old Path Sangha-Introduction
This handbook is designed to assist the practice of meditation for the members, friends and guests of Old Path Sangha (OPS). OPS is dedicated to promoting mindfulness in everyday life, from cutting carrots, to driving a car, or keying the computer. We seek to live in a way that is clear and peaceful, following the teachings of Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Mindfulness teaches us to watch our breath — to breath and smile, to be alive and awake in the present moment.

Meditation is a way of stilling the mind that requires no more than a single breath to realize. As one American Zen teacher said, "If you meditate for five minutes and then take the dog for a walk, even the dog will benefit." Thus, we seek to bring the practice of meditation into daily life. OPS is committed to developing the sangha as an instrument of peace in the community, and to sharing the practice with beginners and experienced practitioners alike. We can do so by calming our minds and opening ourselves to healing, reconciliation and peace

Old Path Sangha Meditation Practice-Structure
OPS meets semi-monthly on the first and third Wednesday (from 7 pm – 9 pm) at St. Philip's Chapel at River and Chapel Road in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Donations are gratefully accepted. Each Wednesday practice includes: • • • • • Sitting Meditation Walking Meditation Chanting/Dharma Recitation/Guided Visualization Dharma discussion Closing

Potluck vegetarian dinners are held four times a year to socialize and discuss
organization and business matters for interested sangha members. Dates and times will be announced via email. Please RSVP to our email address with any questions.

Email: Website:

info@oldpathsangha.org www.oldpathsangha.org


This is the general outline we follow for our practice. It is a guideline for the elements of our quiet time together. Some facilitators, based on their experience and familiarity with the practice, may vary the elements and/or order of these practice tools to suit the participants and atmosphere of the day.

BEGINNING PRAYER: THE THREE GREAT REFUGE VOWS 20 - MINUTE SITTING MEDITATION 15 - MINUTE WALKING MEDITATION MIDPOINT MEDITATION PRAYER: INCENSE OFFERING 15 - MINUTE RECITATION OF CHANTS/POEMS/OFFERINGS 10 - MINUTE DHARMA DISCUSSION CLOSING PRAYER: NAMU DAI BOSA (This chant, taken from the Japanese Zen tradition, pays homage to the boundless dimension of existence. Dai means absolute, and Bosa means the "Enlightened One." This chant connects us to our capacity for enlightenment and our infinite connections to vastness of the universe.)


The Four Noble Truths
These teachings of the Buddha form the foundation of Buddhism.

The First Noble Truth is the existence of sorrow and suffering. Birth is
painful, sickness is painful, old age is painful, and death is painful. Craving that cannot be satisfied is painful. It is sad to be joined to that which we do not like and sadder still to be parted from those we love. Happiness cannot come from material gratification, which merely satisfies desire. Happiness is found within.

The Second Noble Truth is the cause of suffering. This is wrongly
directed desire, the selfish personal craving of humankind for material wealth, for the gratification of the senses, for immortality. The craving for selfish enjoyment entangles humanity in a mesh of sorrow and attachment.

The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be ceased in Nirvana. The
person who conquers herself, who overcomes her own desires, who liberates herself from the tyranny of her ego, occupying the center of her private thoughts, becomes free. She reaches the higher wisdom, Nirvana, serenity of soul.

The Fourth Noble Truth is that through the Eightfold Path we put and
end to sorrow and suffering.


The Eightfold Path
This is the Buddha's teaching of the Middle Way. It is a process, not a rigid set of laws. The teachings are meant to help us listen to our own intuitive wisdom. It consists of the following:


Right Views The truth of life is that all things are interdependent. We do

not exist apart from creation and have no right to exploit it for our own personal interest. 2) Right Intentions We must examine the motives behind our actions, as

reflected by our thinking. The clearer we are about our values, the clearer our vision of life and purpose. 3) Right Speech We should refrain from false and malicious speech, gossip

and unnecessary speech. 4) Right Conduct The Five Wonderful Precepts lay the foundation for right

conduct. 5) Right Livelihood We are encourage to earn a living without harming self,

others or the environment. 6) Right Effort We must cultivate in our thoughts and actions wholesomeness

and avoid unwholesomeness (e.g.. greed, anger). 7) Right Thoughts or Mindfulness We must engage in mindfulness of the

body in our thoughts, feelings and objects of thought. 8) The Right State of a Peaceful Mind We contemplate on the realities of

truth and love of humankind.


The Three Refuge Vows
To take refuge in the Three Jewels is to turn to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha for protection. The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are three precious gems. To take refuge in the Buddha is to take refuge in an awakened person who has the ability to show us the way in this life. To take refuge in the Dharma is to take refuge in the way of understanding, love, and compassion. To take refuge in the Sangha is to take refuge in a community that practices according to the path of understanding, love, and compassion and lives in an awakened way.

The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are present in every quarter of the universe as well as in every person and all other species. To go for refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha also means to have confidence in our own ability to be awakened, to develop and manifest understanding and love in ourselves, and to practice the way for ourselves and for the community.

I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life. (bell)

I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love. (bell)

I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness.


The Heart of the Prajnaparamita
The Bodhisattva Avalokita, While moving in the deep course of perfect understanding, Shed light on the five skandhas and found them equally empty. After this penetration, He overcame ill-being. (bell) Listen, Shariputra. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness. Emptiness is not other than form. The same is true with feelings, Perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. (bell) Hear, Shariputra, All dharmas are marked with emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed, Neither defiled nor immaculate, Neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore in emptiness there is neither form, Nor feeling, nor perceptions, Nor mental formations, nor consciousness; No eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind; No form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; No realms of elements (from eyes to mind consciousness); No interdependent origins and no extinction of them (From ignorance to death and decay); No ill-being, no cause of ill-being, No end of ill-being, and no path; No understanding, no attainment. (bell)


Because there is no attainment, The bodhisattvas, grounded in perfect understanding, Find no obstacles for their minds. Having no obstacles, they overcome fear, Liberating themselves forever from illusion And realizing perfect nirvana. All buddhas in the past, present, and future, Thanks to this perfect understanding, Arrive at full, right, and universal enlightenment. (bell) Therefore one should know that perfect understanding Is the highest mantra, the unequalled mantra, The destroyer of ill-being, the incorruptible truth. A mantra of prajnaparamita should therefore be proclaimed This is the mantra: Gate gate paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha. (three sounds of the bell)


Heart Sutra



Head of Ceremony: In 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 in us. May we and all beings be companions of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. May we awaken from forgetfulness and realize our true home. (bell)

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 whole hearted awareness And the fruit of understanding Sowly ripening

May we and all beings be companions Of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; May we awaken from forgetfulness And realize our true home.

NOTE Incense is offered at the midpoint of meditation practice. This ancient ceremony connects us to our ancestral lineage. A gatha is a form of prayer that is offered throughout the day and night. It is designed to promote mindfulness in everyday activity.


Meal Gatha
This food is the gift of the whole universe - the earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it. May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat in moderation. May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness. We accept this food so that we may realize the path of understanding and love.


The Five Wonderful Precepts
Following the Spring retreats in 1991, Thich Nhat Hanh re-translated the Five Precepts to express their implications more thoroughly and to rephrase the "Do not's" in a way that articulates these positive practices:

1. Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking and in my way of life. 2. Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the wellbeing of people, animals, and plants. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth. 3. Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct 4. Aware of the suffering caused by un-mindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small. 5. Aware of the suffering caused by un-mindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings
Thây has recently replaced the term "precepts " (sila) with the term "mindfulness trainings" (siksa) to more accurately reflect their intention and purpose. The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing (Tien Hiep Order) are guidelines for living in happiness.

The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Simple, Healthy Living
Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom, and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, we are determined not to take as the aim of our life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. We are committed to living simply and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those in need. We will practice mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs, or any other products that bring toxins into our own and the collective body and consciousness.

The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.

The Second Mindfulness Training: Nonattachment from Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We shall learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to others' insights and experiences. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

The Sixth Mindfulness Training: Dealing with Anger
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are determined to take care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognize and transform the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger comes up, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking and acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We will learn to look with the eyes of compassion at those we think are the cause of our anger.

The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought
Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are committed not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever — such as authority, threat, money, propaganda, or indoctrination — to adopt our views. We will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness through practicing deeply and engaging in compassionate dialogue.

The Seventh Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Aware that life is available only in the present moment and that it is possible to live happily in the here and now, we are committed to training ourselves to live deeply each moment of daily life. We will try not to lose ourselves in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or craving, anger, or jealousy in the present. We will practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. We are determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are inside and around us, and by nourishing seeds of joy, peace, love, and understanding in ourselves, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in our consciousness.

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Awareness of Suffering
Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help us develop compassion and find ways out of suffering we are determined not to avoid or close our eyes before suffering. We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact, images, and sounds to be with those who suffer, so we can understand their situation deeply and help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace, and joy.

The Eighth Mindfulness Training: Community and Communication
Aware that the lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, we are committed to training ourselves in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. We will learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. We will make every effort to keep communication open and to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.


The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will not spread news mat we do not know to be certain nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten our safety.

The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, we are committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. We will practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

The Tenth Mindfulness Training: Protecting the Sangha
Aware that the essence and aim of Sangha is the practice of understanding and compassion, we are determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit or transform our community into a political instrument. A spiritual community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

The Fourteenth Mindfulness Training: Right Conduct
(For lay members): Aware that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding love, and a long-term commitment. In sexual relations, we must be aware of future suffering that may be caused. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with respect and preserve our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate on the world into which we are bringing new beings. (For monastic members): Aware that the aspiration of a monk or a nun can only be realized when he or she wholly leaves behind the bonds of worldly love, we are committed to practicing chastity and to helping others protect themselves. We are aware that loneliness and suffering cannot be alleviated by the coming together of two bodies in a sexual relationship, but by the practice of true understanding and compassion. We know that a sexual relationship will destroy our life as monk or a nun, will prevent us from realizing our ideal of serving living beings, and will harm others. We are determined not to suppress or mistreat our body or to look upon our body as only an instrument, but to learn to handle our body with respect. We are determined to preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal.

The Eleventh Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood
Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of global economic, political and social realities, we will behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not investing in' companies that deprive others of their chance to live.

The Twelfth Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life
Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, understanding, and compassion in our daily lives, to promote peace education, mindful mediation, and reconciliation within families, communities, nations, and in the world. We are determined not to kill and not to let others kill. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life and prevent war.


Maitri Meditation by Karl Schmied
Shakyamuni Buddha taught that the next Buddha will be called Maitreya — the Buddha of Love. When we practice maitri Meditation, we water the seeds of this future Buddha in ourselves and strengthen our ability to love. It is the perfect antidote for resentment, hate, and anger. It has been especially useful to me in reconciling conflicts and creating stability in difficult situations. Maitri Meditation helps me be more open, and enables me to act and react positively to others — from my parents (though no longer alive) to friends and partners in private and business life. The nine verses are:

May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit. May I be safe and free from injury. May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety. May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love. May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself. May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day. May I live fresh, solid, and free. May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.

We first direct the verses to ourselves. As long as we cannot accept ourselves as we are — including our capacity to transform unwholesome qualities —our loving relationships with others will also be awry. Next, we direct our Meditation to a person we love, then to a person for whom we experience neutral feelings, and finally to a person with whom we experience difficulties. When we begin the Meditation with "May F' or May he/she" it is not a pious wish, but rather our earnest intention to master this ability and this state, to practice and to wish this also for other persons in our Meditation.

The unfolding of maitri begins first in thoughts, then as internal attitude which includes feelings and sensations, and finally it develops into a pure "being" without differentiating between you and I, friend and foe. Practicing this way, we begin to better understand the object of our Meditation — ourselves or another person. Maitri will then permeate our thoughts, words, and deeds and more strongly, and the Buddha Maitreya will become a loving reality within us.

Amoghavajra Karl Schmied, True Dharma Eye, is the Dharma teacher of the Community of Mindful Living in the Munich area, and one of the three Dharma teachers of Ham Maitreya in Hohenau.


Anyone Can Do It

Walking meditation is meditation while walking. We walk slowly, in a relaxed way, keeping a light smile on our lips. When we practice this way, we feel deeply at ease, and our steps are those of the most secure person on Earth. All our sorrows and anxieties drop away, and peace and joy fill our hearts. Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy.

Thich Nhat Hanh — Buddhist Zen Master


Sangha Songs
1. Breathing In, Breathing Out Breathing in, breathing out. (2) I'm blooming as a flower. I'm fresh as the dew. I'm solid as a mountain. I'm firm as the earth. I'm free! Breathing in, breathing out. (2) I'm water reflecting What is real, what is true. And I feel there is space Deep inside of me. I am free! I am free! I am free! 2. I Have Arrived 1 have arrived, I 'm home In the here and in the now. I have arrived, I 'm home In the here and in the now. I'm solid, I'm free. (2X) In the ultimate I dwell. (2X) 3. Being an Island Unto Myself Being an island unto myself As an island unto myself. Buddha is my mindfulness Shining near, shining far. Dharma is my breathing Guarding body and mind. I'm free, I'm free. Being an island unto myself As an island unto myself. Sangha is my skandhas Working in harmony. Taking refuge in myself Coming back to myself I'm free, I'm free, I'm free. 4. Dear Friends Dear friends, dear friends! Let me tell you how I feel, You have given me such treasures, I love you so. Love, joy, inner peace, Like a Sunday morning breeze All my deer you are so welcotre. Love gives you ease. 5. In...Out. .Deep...Slow In...out... Deep...slow Calm... ease... Smile... release Present moment... Wonderful moment 6. Breathe And You Know... Breathe and you know ... that you are alive ... that all is helping you ... that you are the world ... that the flower is breathing too Breathe for yourself and you breathe for the world Breathe in compassion and breathe out joy. Breathe and be one ... with the air that you breathe ... with the river that flows ... with the earth that you tread ... with the fire that glows Breathe and you break the thought of birth and death Breathe and you see impermanence is life. Breathe ... for your joy to be steady and calm ... for your sorrow to flow away ... to renew every cell in your blood ... to renew the depth of consciousness ... and you dwell in the here and now ... and all you touch is new and real. 7. And When I Rise And when I rise, let me rise Like a bird, joyfully And when I fall, let me fall Like a leaf, gracefully Without regrets. 8. No Coming, No Going No coming, no going No after, no before. I hold you close to me And I release you to be so free! Because I am in you, and you are in me. (2X) 9. Happiness is Here and Now Happiness is here and now I have dropped my worries Nowhere to go, nothing to do! No longer in a hurry! 10. All Within Me Peaceful All before me peaceful... All behind me peaceful... Over me peaceful... Under me peaceful... All around me peaceful... All within me peaceful... 11. Taking Refuge Breathing in, I go back to the island within myself. There are beautiful trees within the island, there are clear streams of water, there are birds, sunshine and fresh air. Breathing out, I feel safe. I enjoy going back to my island. 12. Healing Chant May the day be well And the night be well. May the mid-day hour Bring happiness too. May the day and night Always be well By the blessing of the triple gem May all things be protected and safe. 13. Guarding the Six Senses The eyes are a deep ocean, with whirlpools and violent winds, and shadow beneath the surface, and sea monsters deep within. My boat's sailing in mindfulness, I vow to hold the tiller firmly so that I do not drown in an ocean of form. Using my conscious breath, I am guarding my eyes for my protection and yours. So that today continues to be a beautiful day, and tomorrow, we still have each other. The tongue - an ocean of taste The nose - an ocean of smell The mind - an ocean of dharmas.


14. Please Call Me By My True Names My joy's like a spring so warm, it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain's like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans. Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can hear that my joy and pain are one. Please call me by my true names so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open. Please call me by my true names (2X) So I can wake up, wake up, so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion. 15. Taste and See Oh taste, taste and see, how good is the fruit that falls from the trees Oh taste, taste and see, how good is the fruit of the garden. Taste the sun, stored in the skin, flavor of fire and passion Taste the stars that dwell at the core, seeds of our joy and compassion. Chorus: Taste the rain, soaked in the flesh, it lingers so sweet on the tongue Taste the earth, the body of life, dark and rich and strong. 16. Two Promises I vow to develop understanding In order to live peacefully with people, animals, plants, and minerals Animals, plants, and minerals, hummmmm... .Haaaaa I vow to develop my compassion In order to protect life of people, animals, plants, and minerals Animals, plants, and minerals, hummmmm...Haaaaa.

17. In My Two Hands I hold my face in my two hands I hold my face in my two hands My hands Hollowed to catch what might fall from within me Deeper than crying I am not crying. I hold my face in my two hands I hold my face in my two hands To keep my loneliness warm To cradle my hunger Shelter my heart From the rain and the thunder Two hands preventing my soul From flying in anger. I hold my face in my two hands I hold my face in my two hands Holding the wings That batter the bars of their cages Shelter the flame From the windstorm that rages Warming the place Where tomorrow my blossom forgiveness. I hold my face in my two hands I hold my face in my tow hands My hands Hollowed to catch what might fall from within me Deeper than crying I am not crying I am in my two hands.

18. Cookie of Childhood Cookie of childhood Sweeter than songbird's song Tasting of wheat and sky and sun Each piece a pleasure Each taste a treasure Cookie of childhood has just begun. Walking the woodland Working with my two hands Touching the wheat and the earth and dew Now is my childhood Here is my cookie This is the whole which I share with you. Cookie of childhood Sweeter than a songbird's song Tasting of wheat and rain and sun Each piece a pleasure Each taste a treasure Cookie of childhood and I are one. 19. Standing Like a Tree Standing like a tree with my roots dug down, my branches wide and open, Come down the rain, Come down the sun, Come down the fruit to a heart that is open to be.


The Meaning of Namu Dai Bosa
(A condensed excerpt from ’Namu Dai Bosa,’ by Eido Shimano Roshi)

There are many kinds of sutras, but all of them are condensed into this Namu Dai Bosa. And this is condensed into Mu; and this into just Zazen. Not only are the many sutras condensed into Namu Dai Bosa - also the many shastras. Everything is condensed into this Namu Dai Bosa. Not only the four-dimensional world in which we human beings live - but also the five, six and endless dimensional worlds are all condensed into this Namu Dai Bosa. This Untouchable, Unthinkable universal world is each one of us; not only each one of us, but each one of our cells. Do you know how many cells there are in your body? Someone? How many? I have never counted them myself, but a scholar has said there are seventeen billion cells in the human body. And, of course, in addition to these cells there are the electrons and other smaller elements - small, small, endlessly small? Each such thing - no matter how small - is a sentient being. This is the meaning of Dai. As a character, Dai is usually considered the opposite of smallness. But since the true meaning of Dai is absolute, in even the smallest thing there is this Dai. Bosa you know; it means "enlightened one." Each of your cells is an enlightened one. Believe this! You are all such wonderful persons. This is Buddha. No need to say "Buddha." This is true - a true fact. This is not Zen; not Buddhism; not religious talk. It is just a plain fact. Right here, now - this is Namu Dai Bosa. There is no need to think about endless dimensions or universal worlds. Just Namu Dai Bosa. Just Mu. Just breathing. Just counting. Nothing else. Just...! Some of you think Zen is very difficult, very painful. But you think you should overcome this difficulty in order to get so-called "enlightenment." Now of course Zen is difficult; but it is also too easy. It is neither difficult nor easy.... There are many trees in New York City. To grow in New York is very difficult; but, also, very easy. Too easy is also difficult. Some of you think Zazen is difficult. It is. But on the other hand, it is very easy. The practice of Zazen and

chanting Namu Dai Bosa is most easy. When you chant Namu Dai Bosa, you at once become a Bodhisattva! Please stand up [to someone in the audience]. When I take your precious watch, I immediately become a thief; and if I were to kill you, I would at once become a murderer. All right? So when I chant Namu Dai Bosa, I at once become a Bodhisattva. It is too easy. Not difficult, not easy.... We also think too much about the "easy" and the "difficult." From various directions you all came here to this Zendo tonight. On the way, did you think to yourself, while walking, "Oh, this is difficult!" or "Oh, this is easy!" You should all meditate about this matter of the difficult and the easy - and then forget about it! So: Namu Dai Bosa. Namu Dai Bosa. Namu Dai Bosa. When you chant this, you can feel its wonderful life. Kuni guni no Yuki tokete Namu Dai Bosa. | | | Snow of all countries Melting into Namu Dai Bosa.

With this mind, whether you are eating or drinking or standing or sitting - all right! With this realization, let us march on bravely. This is Namu Dai Bosa.... Someone once asked Zen master Baso, "What is Zen?" Baso answered: "When you can drink all the water in all the oceans in the world in one gulp, then I will tell you what Zen is." All right? When you are able to swallow, not only this world, this threedimension world, but this Endless Dimension Universal World...

Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa Namu Dai Bosa


Books and Resources
o The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D. (1998). o Mindfulness and Meaningful Work, Explorations in Right Livelihood by Claude Whitmyer, 1994). o Touching Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1992). o Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1997). o The Blooming of a Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1993) o For a Future to Be Possible by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1993). o The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1976). o Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1995). o Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1991). o Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book by Thich Nhat Hanh, (2000). o Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh, (2001). o How to Practice the Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, (2002).

o o www.plumvillage.org for information about Thich Nhat Hanh. www.parallax.org for books and tapes on mindfulness awareness and social responsibility. www.fourgates.com for meditation supplies.


o The Mindfulness Bell published by the Community of Mindful Living, Deer Park, 2496 Melru Lane, Escondido, CA 92026, e-mail to cmldeerpark@vahoo.com.


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