Sangha Meeting Practice Schedule

On Sunday evenings, we practice together at the Miami Life Center as follows:
- Sitting meditation (20 minutes)
- Walking meditation (20 minutes)
- Sitting meditation (20 minutes)
- Dharma talk (we listen to a teaching for 20 minutes)
- Dharma discussion (we discuss the teaching and other topics of practice for 30 minutes)
- Lovingkindness meditation (we extend compassion to all beings for 10 minutes)

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

Practicing the Five Mindfulness Trainings protects our freedom and makes life beautiful. As guidelines for our daily lives they are the basis of happiness for individuals, couples, families and society.  We recite them regularly in order to keep them fresh in our practice.

Reverence For Life:  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 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, or 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.

True Happiness: 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.

True Love:  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.

Loving Speech and Deep Listening:  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.

Nourishment and Healing:  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. 

Days of Mindfulness

Practicing being mindful in all that we do is an essential part of our practice. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that each of us personally set aside one day of the week to be completely mindful. Expanding upon that idea, we then also set aside some time as a sangha to practice together being totally mindful for a day. A Day of Mindfulness is like a mini-retreat of activities such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful movements and deep relaxation that are practiced in noble silence.

Chants and Gathas 

Morning Chant

The Dharma body is bringing morning light.
In concentration, our hearts are at peace, a half-smile is born upon our lips.
This is a new day. We vow to go through it in mindfulness.
The sun of wisdom has now risen, shining in every direction.
Noble Sangha, diligently bring your mind into meditation.
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya

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.
Mind and body dwell in perfect mindfulness. We rediscover our original nature,
leaving the shore of illusion behind.

Noble Sangha, diligently bring your mind into meditation.
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya

Gatha of Impermanence

The day has now ended, our lives are shorter.
Now we look carefully, what have we done?
Noble Sangha, with all of our heart,
Let us be diligent engaging in the practice.
Let us live deeply, free from our afflictions,
Aware of impermanence,
so that life does not drift away without meaning.

Gatha Before Eating (The 5 Contemplations)

This food is the gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.
May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.

May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation.
May we keep our comapssion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributiong to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.
We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

Open Hands, Open Hearts

The practice of Dana (a pali word meaning generosity) is a profound practice. 

"Dana is the spirit and act of generosity. Its salutary effects are endless, and they multiply beyond measure at each point of renewal... the very stars hold themselves on-course through a mutual interchange of energy."  Aitken Roshi


Dana is a practice of “offering freely that which can be given” and is the foundation upon which the Buddhist tradition rests. Gifts of time, skills, wisdom, compassion, materials and monetary resources allow the community to maintain this sacred space. 

At sangha gatherings, a donation of any amount is appreciated to help support our annual community retreat. 

At retreats, our Dharma teachers do not charge for their services.  So there is an opportunity to make a donation to them to help support their teachings.  For regularly employed people, a suggested donation of $100 may be possible (as desired but not required) on a sliding scale basis according to what you can afford.  
 

Other ways to practice Dana is by supporting two of our own charitable organizations in our tradition: The Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, and also The Loving Work Foundation.