Friday night chants
At the end of our practice on Friday nights we recite a chant before offering our respect to each other and to the Buddha. On the last Friday of every month we recite Beginning Anew:
With great respect, we turn towards the conqueror of afflictions, offering heartfelt words of repentance.
We have lived in forgetfulness for a long time.
As we have not had the opportunity to encounter the Dharma, our habit-energies have led us into suffering.
We have made many mistakes out of unskillfulness.
We have been blinded by our wrong perceptions for a very long time.
Our heart’s garden is sown with attachment, hatred, and pride.
In us are seeds of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and lies.
Our everyday deeds and words do damage.
All these wrong actions are obstacles to our peace and joy.
Let us begin anew.
We see that we have been thoughtless, straying from the path of mindfulness.
We have stored up afflictions and ignorance, which have brought about so much aversion and sorrow.
There are times we have been weary of life because we are so full of anxiety.
Because we do not understand others, we are angry and resentful.
First we try to reason with each other, then we blame.
Every day the suffering increases, making the rift greater.
There are days when we are unwilling to speak to each other, unwilling to look each other in the face.
And we create internal formations, which last for a long time.
Now we turn to the Three Jewels.
Sincerely recognizing our errors, we bow our heads.
We know so well that in our consciousness are buried all the wholesome seeds –
Seeds of love and understanding and seeds of peace and joy.
But because we do not know how to water them, the wholesome seeds do not sprout fresh and green.
We continue to allow sorrow to overwhelm us until there is no light in our lives.
When we chase after a distant happiness, life becomes but a shadow of the reality.
Our mind is occupied by the past, or worrying about this or that in the future.
We cannot let go of our anger, and we consider of no value the precious gifts of life which are already in our hands, thereby trampling on real happiness.
As month follows month, we are sunk in sorrow.
So now in the precious presence of the Buddha, fragrant with sandalwood incense,
We recognize our errors and begin anew. (BELL)
With all our heart we go for refuge, turning to the Buddhas in the Ten Directions and all bodhisattvas, noble disciples, and self-achieved Buddhas.
Very sincerely we recognize our errors and the mistakes of our wrong judgments.
Please bring the balm of clear water to pour on the roots of our afflictions.
Please bring the raft of the true teachings to carry us over the ocean of sorrows.
We vow to live an awakened life, to practice smiling and conscious breathing, and to study the teachings, authentically transmitted.
Diligently we shall live in mindfulness.
We come back to live in the wonderful present, to plant our heart’s garden with good seeds,
and to make strong foundations of understanding and love.
We vow to train ourselves in mindfulness and concentration, practicing to look and
understand deeply to be able to see the nature of all that is, and so to be free of the bonds
of birth and death.
We learn to speak lovingly, to be affectionate, to care for others whether it is early morn or
late afternoon, to bring the roots of joy to many places, helping people to abandon sorrow,
to respond with deep gratitude to the kindness of parents, teachers, and friends.
With deep faith we light up the incense of our heart.
We ask the Lord of Compassion to be our protector on the wonderful path of practice.
We vow to practice diligently, cultivating the fruits of this path.
All wrongdoing arises from the mind.
When the mind is purified, what trace of wrong is left?
After repentance, my heart is light like the white clouds
that have always floated over the ancient forest in freedom.
During those Fridays which occur during the month we recite the Friday Night Chants which are actually the Dharani for Rebirth, the Offering of Merit, Gatha on Impermanence, and Taking Refuge:
Tam Bao Temple
Friday Evening Service
Dharani for rebirth in the Pure Gatha on Impermanence.
Land. Offering up the Merit.
Reciting the sutras, practicing the The day is now ended.
way of awareness,
Our lives are shorter.
gives rise to benefits without limit.
Let us look carefully
We vow to share the fruit with all
beings. at how we have acted.
We vow to offer tribute to parents, Sisters, with all our heart
let us diligently
and numerous beings who give
guidance and support along the engage in the practice.
path. (Bell, Bell)
Let us live deeply, as free people
always aware of impermanence
May we be reborn in the Pure Land,
so life does not drift away
in the lotus which symbolizes no meaninglessly.
May Buddhas and bodhisattvas
be our companions on the path of Taking Refuge.
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one
who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way
May we put an end to the afflictions, of understanding and love.
so that understanding can arise, I take refuge in the Sangha, the
community which lives in harmony
so that the obstacles of wrongdoing and awareness. (Bell)
can come to an end
and the fruit of awakening be fully
realized. (Bell, Bell)
Since I have taken refuge in Buddha, Taking refuge in the Sangha in
I see clearly a path of beauty in the
world. I aspire that all people
may build four-part sanghas to
Since I have taken refuge in Dharma,
the suffering of numerous people.
I am learning and practicing (Bell, Bell, Bell)
ways of transformation.
Since I have taken refuge in Sangha,
I have the Sangha to shine light of
and support me on the path of
Taking refuge in the Buddha in
I aspire that all people
may recognize the awakened nature
And quickly realize bodhicitta.
Taking refuge in the Dharma in
I aspire that all people
can grasp firmly the ways of practice
and together go on the path of
On the first Friday of each month we offer the Five Mindfulness Trainings:
The Five Mindfulness Trainings
1) Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of all people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world. (Bell)
2) Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power, and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming. (Bell)
3) Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. 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. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future. (Bell)
4) Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness. (Bell)
5) Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments: namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing, and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society, and the Earth. (Three bells)