Meditation and Chanting Guide

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Copy of Guide: Meditation and Chanting Guide (pdf format)

                            Meditation and Chanting Guide (online e-book format)

AT THE HALL OF PATRIARCHS
Before the invocation we light three sticks of incense representing the following qualities:
Morality (Sila)
Concentration (Samadhi)
Wisdom (Panna)

INVOCATION:
With respect and gratitude
We bow three times to the
Patriarchs from India,
China and Vietnam
(Bell and Bow x 3)
[We now move into the Main Hall for meditation]

1. INCENSE OFFERING
(bells)
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 mindfulness, and the fruit of understanding, slowly ripening.
May we and all beings, be companions of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. May we awaken from forgetfulness and realise our true mind.
(bell)

2. DEEP BOWING
We wish to revere with speech, mind and body, the Buddha. The one who shows us the way in this life.
(bell and bow)

We wish to revere with speech, mind and body, the Dharma. The way of understanding and love.
(bell and bow)

We wish to revere with speech, mind and body, the Sangha. The community of mindful harmony.
(bell and bow)

3. PREPARING FOR MEDITATION
Prepare yourself for meditation either on the floor or on a chair. If on the floor, sit in either a full or half lotus position. If on a chair, place feet flat on the floor with hands either right cupped (right in left) or gently placed on thighs. Press down strongly three times on your hands, straightening the spine.
Aligning your head and shoulders, looking down from the side of your nose, and focusing on a spot about 3 feet from the end of your nose. The mouth is gently closed and the tongue placed behind the upper teeth (this limits saliva production). Next take three deep breaths slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Keep your eyes slightly opened at the beginning of the meditation and closing them later when your position, breathing and mind have stabilised. The bells during the meditation remind us to re-concentrate on the breath, this is especially helpful when our mind wanders or we begin to feel drowsy.

4. EVENING CHANT
With posture upright and solid
We are seated at the foot of the Bodhi Tree
Body, speech and mind all are one
In stillness, there is no more thought of right and wrong
Our minds and bodies dwell in perfect mindfulness

We re-discover our original nature
Leaving the shore of illusion behind
Noble Sangha diligently bring your mind into meditation

Chorus:
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya

(Meditation starts)

5. ENDING THE MEDITATION
You are now listening to the last bells of this meditation.
On hearing the first bell we will dedicate this meditation to all sentient beings.
(bell)
On hearing the second bell we will take three deep breaths: in through the nose; and out through the mouth. Breathing in all the positives in our lives; breathing out all the negatives of our lives.
(bell)
When you heard the third and last bell, slowly open your eyes and follow further instructions to get out of this meditation.
(bell)

6. MASSAGE AT THE END OF MEDITATION
1     Squeeze fingers 5 times.
2     Push down hard 3 times on your lap, straightening your spine.
3     Rotate your left shoulder 5 times.
4     Rotate your right shoulder 5 times.
5     Now rotate both shoulders 10 times: Reverse the direction of rotation for another 10 times.
6     Gently move your head up and down 5 times.
7     Gently move your head from right to left 5 times.
8     Rub your hands strongly, generating heat, place your hands over your eyes, pause for a few second. Be aware of the touch and the pleasant feelings that arise throughout this massage.
9     Rub your face in an upwardly circulating movement 20 times.
10   Rub your head from the front to the back 10 times.
11   Rub your ears 10 times.
12   Pull your ears lobes 10 times.
13   Place one hand on the crown of your head, the other on the back of your neck and massage 10 times.
14   Rub 2 fingers of each hand together, generating heat, now massage your eyes either inwardly or outwardly 10 times.
15   Rub both sides of the back of your neck 10 times.
16   Rub your throat upwardly 10 times.
17   Place your left hand on your right shoulder and massage the whole of the arm 10 times.
18   Place your right hand on your left shoulder and massage the whole of the arm 10 times.
19   Place your right hand on your left shoulder; and your left hand under your right armpit. Massage up and down 5 times, then stretch and breathe out strongly. Repeat.
20   Place your left hand on your right shoulder and your right hand under your left armpit. Massage up and down 5 times then stretch and breathe out strongly. Repeat.
21   Place one hand on the chest and one hand on the stomach. Massage in a circular motion 10 times. Now massage in  the reverse direction 10 times.
22   Using the back of your hands, rub your back from the top to the bottom 10 times.
23   Using your palms rub your kidney and waist area 10 times.
24   Massage your sciatic nerve in both legs, first left then right 10 times.
25   Rub your upper and inner thighs toward the knees 10 times.
26   Bring out your left leg, massage down to the tibia 10 times.
27   Straighten out your left leg and rub your knee 10 times.
28   Bring up your left foot and rub the sole of your foot with your knuckles 10 times.
29   Hold your toes, rotate them gently 5 times. Now rotate in the reverse direction 5 times. Put down your left leg.
30   Bring out your right leg, massage down to the tibia 10 times.
31   Straighten out your right leg and rub your knee 10 times.
32   Bring up your right foot and rub the sole of your foot with your knuckles 10 times.
33   Hold your toes, rotate them gently 5 times. Now rotate in the reverse direction 5 times. Put down your right leg.
34   Take out your cushion, straighten out both legs and bend forward to touch your toes 10 times.

Stand-up and adjust your clothing. Stand in a relaxed and stable position. Tai Chi: breathing exercise: 3 breaths up and down.
Thay will now conduct a walking meditation (or give feedback).

7. SUTRA OPENING VERSE
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhasa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhasa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhasa
(bell)

The Dharma is profound and wonderful.
We now have a chance to see it, study it and practise it.
We vow to realise its true meaning.
(bell)

8. THE HEART OF THE PRAJNAPARAMITA SUTRA
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, 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 and emptiness is not other than form. The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness.

(bell)

Listen Shariputra, all dharma 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 perception, nor mental formation, 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 realising 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 prajna paramita should therefore be proclaimed:

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha  (3 times)

9. TAKING SELF-REFUGE
Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself, I aspire to help all people recognise their own awakened nature, realising the true mind.
(bell and bow)

Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself, I aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice and walk together on the path of liberation.
(bell and bow)

Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself, I aspire to help all people build fourfold communities, to live in harmony and support their transformation.
(bell and bow)

10. DEDICATING MERIT
Reciting the sutra, practising the way of awareness gives rise to benefits without limits.

We vow to share the fruits with all beings.

We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers, friends and numerous beings who give guidance and support along the path.
(bell x 4)
[Small bow to all present]