THE TEN ASPIRATIONS OF SAMANTABHADRA
(THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA)
Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness
I bow deeply to uncountable Buddhas
In every world and in the ten directions
In the past, the present and time to come
The spiritual power of Samantabhadra’s vow
Enables me to be present everywhere
Wherever is Buddha I am there
Buddha cannot be measured and neither can I
In a grain of dust are numberless Buddhas
Each of these Buddhas is present in our assembly
My trust and confidence in them is filling
Every atom in the Dharma realms
I aspire to use the great ocean of sound
To give rise to words of wonderful effect
In commending the ocean of happiness Buddhas bring about
Which lasts for numberless lifetimes.
Garlands of the most wonderful flowers
Fragrant incense, music and parasols
For the Tathagatas to use to beautify their lands
We bring as an offering
Food, robes and fragrant flowers
Torches, sandalwood and mats on which to sit
They are all here in plenty
As an offering to the Tathagatas
We bring our heart of wide understanding
Which has confidence in the Buddhas of the three times
We rely on the power of Samantabhadra’s aspiration
To make offerings to the Tathagatas everywhere
For a long time I have acted unskilfully
Because of greed, hatred and ignorance
Which have manifested through my body, speech and mind
O I repent of them all
I beg to rejoice in every meritorious action
Caused by any being in any of the directions
By all the learners and those who have no more to learn
All the Tathagatas and Bodhisattvas
All Buddhas who serve as lamps of the world,
Or have just realised Great Enlightenment,
We beg to think lovingly about us,
And to turn the wheel of Dharma to save all beings.
We also sincerely ask all Buddhas who are about to enter nirvana:
Please stay with us forever for the benefit of all beings.
We humbly revere and make offerings to the Buddhas,
Inviting them to stay with us and rescue us.
Whatever good seeds are sown from rejoicing in others merit and repenting,
We transfer all of them to the path of Buddha.
All this merit we bring
And offer to the three jewels,
To the intrinsic nature and the form of the Buddha's teachings,
To the two truths which help us penetrate the samadhi seal.
This ocean of merit which is so great
I wish to offer up and not hold for myself.
If there are any beings without sufficient intelligence
Of body, speech and mind so that they vilify the path of liberation,
May their obstacles be entirely removed.
Every moment wisdom envelops the Dharma realms
Beings of every species come to the place of no regress.
Space and beings are without limit.
So are the afflictions and the results of past actions.
The merit which we offer up is as boundless
As space, beings, afflictions and past actions.
SUTRA ON THE FIVE WAYS OF PUTTING AN END TO ANGER
(The Sutra On Water as an Example)
This is what I heard one time when the Buddha was staying in the Anathapindika Monastery in the Jeta Grove near to the town of Sravasti.
One day the Venerable Sariputra said to the monks:
"Friends in the practice, today I want to share with you five ways of putting an end to anger. Please listen carefully and put into practice what I teach you."
The bhiksus agreed and listened carefully.
The Venerable Sariputra said:
"What are these five ways of putting an end to anger?
"This is the first way, my friends: If there is someone whose bodily actions are not kind but his words are kind, then if you are angry with that person and you are wise you should know how to meditate in order to put an end to this anger.
"My friends, say there is a bhiksu who is practising asceticism and he wears the patchwork robe. One day he is going past a filthy rubbish heap with excrement, urine, mucous and all other kinds of filth, but he sees on the rubbish heap a piece of cloth which is still intact. He uses his left hand and picks up the piece of cloth and then with his right hand he takes the other end and stretches it out. He sees that this piece of cloth is not torn and also it has not been dirtied by excrement, urine, sputum and other kinds of filth. So immediately he folds it up and puts it away to bring home, to wash clean and to sew, along with other pieces of material, into a patchwork robe. It is the same, my friends when someone's bodily action is not kind but his words are kind. We should not give our attention to the unkind bodily action of that person. We should only be attentive to his kind words, in order to be able to put an end to our anger. Someone who is wise should practise in that way.
"My friends, this is the second method: If there is someone whose words are not kind but her bodily actions are kind, if you become angry with that person and you are wise, you should know the way of meditating in order to put an end to this anger. My friends, say that not far from the village there is a deep lake of water, but the surface of the water is covered with algae and grass. Now, there is someone who comes near to the lake, and that person is very thirsty and suffering greatly from the heat. He takes off his clothes and leaves them on the bank of the lake, jumps down into the water and uses his hands in order to clear away the algae and the grass, and in comfort and enjoyment he bathes and drinks the cool water of the lake. It is the same, my friends with someone whose words are not kind but whose bodily actions are kind, you should not give your attention to that person's words, you should only be attentive to that person's bodily actions in order to be able to put an end to your anger. Someone who is wise should practise in that way.
"Here is the third method my friends: If there is someone whose bodily actions are not kind, whose words are not kind but in their heart there is still a little kindness, then if you feel anger with that person and you are wise you should find a way of meditating in order to put an end to that anger.
"My friends, say there is someone who is going to the crossroads. He is very weak, very thirsty, very poor, very hot, deprived and full of sorrow. When he comes to the crossroads there is a buffalo's footprint, and in that footprint there is a little stagnant rain water. He thinks to himself: "Although there is very little of this water in the buffalo's footprint at the crossroads, if I were to use my hand or a leaf in order to scoop up the water then I would stir it up and it would become muddied and undrinkable. Therefore I would not be able to quench my thirst and end my deprivation, the heat I am feeling and all the suffering. I shall have to kneel down, place my arms and my knees on the earth, and use my mouth in order to drink the water directly from the hole." Straight away he kneels down on the earth, places his lips in the water in the buffalo footprint and drinks it. Like this my friends, when you see someone whose bodily actions are not kind, whose words are not kind but in that person's heart there is still a little kindness, you should not give your attention to that person's actions and words which are not kind, but you should be attentive to the little kindness which is in that person's heart in order to be able to put an end to your anger. Someone who is wise should practise in that way.
"This is the fourth method my friends. If there is someone whose bodily actions are not kind, whose words are not kind, and in that person's heart there is nothing which could be called kind, then if you are angry with that person and you are wise you should find a way to meditate in order to put an end to your anger. My friends, suppose that there is someone who is making a long journey and when he has made a part of the journey he falls sick. He is in a very bad way, completely exhausted, alone, without any travelling companions, the village he left behind is already far behind and the village he is going to is also far ahead. He falls into despair and he knows that he will die before he ends his journey. If at that point there is someone else who comes along and sees this man's situation he immediately comes to his assistance. He leads him by the hand to the next village, takes care of him, treats him for his illness and makes sure that he has everything he needs in the way of clothes, medicine and food. Thanks to this help the other person's life is saved. The reason why his life is saved is because of the compassion and loving-kindness of the person who came along. Just so, my friends, when you see someone whose bodily actions are not kind, whose words are not kind and in whose heart there does not seem to be anything left which could be called kindness, you should give rise to this thought: "Someone whose bodily actions are not kind, whose words are not kind and in whose heart there does not seem to be any kindness at all is someone who is suffering. Without a doubt they are on the way to realms of extremely great suffering. If they do not meet a good spiritual friend there will be no chance for them to transform and to be able to go to realms of happiness." Thinking like that you will be able to open your heart to that person with love and compassion. You will be able to put an end to your anger and help that person. Someone who is wise should practise like this.
"My friends, this is the fifth method: If there is someone whose bodily actions are kind, whose words are kind and whose mind is also kind, then if you are angry with that person and you are wise you should find a way of meditating in order to put an end to your anger. My friends, suppose that not far from the village there is a very beautiful lake. The water in the lake is clear and sweet, the bed of the lake is even, the banks of the lake are full of beautiful trees, green grass grows up around the lake, and everywhere the green fresh trees give shade. Someone comes to the lake who is thirsty, who is suffering from heat and whose body is covered in sweat. He takes off his clothes and leaves them on the shore of the lake, jumps down into the water and finds great comfort and enjoyment in bathing and drinking the water. All his heat, thirst and suffering disappear at the same time. In the same way my friends, when you see someone whose bodily actions are kind, whose words are kind and whose mind is also kind you should give your attention to all the kindness of that person concerning body, speech and mind and not allow anger to overwhelm you. If you do not know how to live happily with someone who is as fresh as that then you cannot be called someone who has wisdom.
"My dear friends, I have shared with you the five ways of putting an end to anger."
When the bhiksus heard the Venerable Sariputra's words they were very happy to receive them and put them into practice.
Majjhima Agama 25 (corresponds with Anguttara Nikaya III 186)
MAY THE DAY BE WELL
May the day be well and the night be well,
May the midday 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.
May all beings born in the four ways live in a pure land.
May the three worlds become lotus thrones.
May countless pretas realise the three goodnesses.
May the one hundred thousand species ascend the bodhisattva levels.
The countenance of the blessed one is like the bright moon
or like the orb of the sun sending out the light of clarity.
The halo of wisdom shines in ten thousand directions
impregnating all with love, compassion, joy and equanimity.
Namo Sakyamunaye Buddhaya
(stand up and practise circumambulation while recollecting the Buddha)
Teaching and living the way of awareness in the very midst of suffering and confusion, Sakyamuni Buddha the Awakened One, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
The Buddha Amitabha, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
The bodhisattva of Great Compassion, Avalokitesvara, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
The bodhisattva of Great Strength, Mahasthamaprapta, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
The bodhisattva of the Great Vow, Ksitigarbha, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
Showing the way fearlessly and compassionately, the stream of all our ancestral teachers, to whom we bow in gratitude. (B)
EVOKING THE BODHISATTVAS’ NAMES (page 132)
GATHA ON IMPERMANENCE
The day is now ended.
Our lives are shorter.
Let us look carefully
at how we have acted.
Sisters, with all our heart
let us diligently
engage in the practice.
Let us live deeply, as free people
always aware of impermanence
so life does not drift away meaninglessly.
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love.
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community which lives in harmony and awareness. (B)
Since I have taken refuge in Buddha,
I see clearly a path of beauty in the world.
Since I have taken refuge in Dharma,
I am learning and practising ways of transformation.
Since I have taken refuge in Sangha
I have the Sangha to shine light on my practice
And support me on the path of practice.(B)
Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself,
I aspire that all people
May recognise the awakened nature
And quickly realise bodhicitta
Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself,
I aspire that all people
Can grasp firmly the ways of practice
and together go on the path of transformation.
Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself
I aspire that all people
May build four-part sanghas to transform
The suffering of numerous people. (BBB)