Openings and Closings
Openings and Closings
(Selected from Heartland Sangha American Buddhist Service Programs)
It is a great joy to realize that the path to freedom that all the Buddhas and awakened ones have trodden is ever existent and open to us all! MIBS
In humility we (have) gather(ed) together with sincere mindfulness. May we be nourished in body, mind, and spirit—in the Way of Oneness. MIBS
May our gathering together
Inspire us to direct our efforts
To heal, not to harm,
To help, not to hinder,
To bless, not to curse,
To serve always, the spirit of awakening. MIBS
(adapted from Passover Haggadah)
Love yourself and be awake—today, tomorrow and always.
First establish yourself in the Way, then teach others, And so defeat sorrow.
To straighten the crooked, you must first do a harder thing—
You are your own master. Who else?
Subdue yourself, and discover your master. MIBS
All the world’s phenomena and ideas are unreal,
Like a dream, like magic, and like an image.
All the world’s phenomena and ideas are impermanent,
Like a water bubble, like dew and lightning.
Thus should one observe and realize all the world’s phenomena and ideas. MIBS
Present moment; wonderful moment.
Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I am in touch with the energy of wisdom and compassion
in every cell of my body. Breathing out, I feel nourished by the energy of wisdom and compassion in me. MIBS
(adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh)
The Five Bows
I bow to all generations of ancestors in my blood family.
I bow to all generations of ancestors in my spiritual family.
I bow to all ancestors of this land who made it possible.
In gratitude, I bow down and transmit my energy to those I love.
In compassion and understanding, I bow down to reconcile myself
with those who have made me suffer. MIBS
With every breath I take,
I vow to be awake.
With every step I take,
I vow to take with gratitude.
So I may see with eyes of love,
Into the hearts of all I meet,
To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace.
When sorrows invade the mind, we discover the Dharma.
And find lasting happiness. Thank you, sorrows!
Through harm caused by demons we discover Dharma.
And find fearlessness. Thank you evil spirits!
Through cruel adversity, we discover Dharma.
And find the Unchanging way. Thank you adversity!
Listening to the bell, my afflictions begin to dissolve.
With calm mind and relaxed body,
A smile is born on my lips.
Following the sound of the bell,
I go back to the island of Mindfulness
And in the garden of my heart
The flowers of peace bloom.
(Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh)
Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life, even if it is easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, even when I have gone away from you.
(Native American prayer)
I will live with wisdom.
And how shall I do this?
I will love the sun for it warms my bones;
Yet I will love the rain for it cleanses the spirit.
I will love the light for ti shows me the way;
Yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.
I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart;
Yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.
I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due;
Yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.
(adapted from OG Mandino)
Let us be mindful of our thoughts, for they become our words;
Our words, for they become our actions;
Our actions, for they become our habits;
Our habits, for they become our character;
And our character, for it becomes our destiny.
In the Buddhist tradition, putting our hands together in Gassho is the highest form of respect. Respecting each other also means to respect and bring out the inner Buddha Nature within each of us. All beings have Buddha Nature, the potential for perfect wisdom and compassion. May we respect and nurture these qualities in each other. MIBS
In life, we cannot avoid change; we cannot avoid loss.
Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change. (The Buddha)
I have known a great many troubles…
But most of them never happened! (Mark Twain)
Hearing the bell
This wonderful sound
Brings me back
To my true self.
We gather(ed) together to remind each other
To rest for a moment on the forming edge of our lives,
To resist the headlong tumble into the next moment,
Until we claim for ourselves
Awareness and gratitude;
Taking the time to look inside the others
And see there communion
And a reflection of ourselves.
May this place of laughter and silence, of memory and hope,
Be made sacred by our presence together.
(adapted from Kathleen McTigue)
May some saving sense of humor liberate us
From arrogance and pompousness,
And from thinking ourselves more important than we are.
May we make amends
If we chance to ridicule others or their views.
May we be cured
From making war and calling it peace,
From special privilege and calling it justice,
From indifference and calling it tolerance,
From polluting and calling it progress.
From all these may we be cured.
The Dharma is deep and lovely. We now have an opportunity to see it, to hear it, and practice it. We vow to realize its true meaning.
May this gathering inspire us to create a spirit of awakening and understanding, and to live a life of peace and harmony.
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. (Albert Schweitzer)
A Peace Invocation
May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind be freed from their illness.
May those frightened, cease to be afraid;
And may those bound, be freed.
May the powerless find power,
And may people think of befriending one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness— the children, the aged, the unprotected— be guarded by love and compassion, And may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
Quotes on Happiness
(May we) Realize that happiness lies within oneself. And waste no time and effort searching for peace and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no real happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. MIBS (Og Mandino)
(May we realize that) Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, rather than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a person in the course of one’s life. MIBS
(May we) Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving;
May we make each day a holiday,
And may we celebrate just living. MIBS
(May we realize) There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow enormous benefits upon the world.
MIBS (Robert Louis Stevenson)
(May we realize) Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
MIBS (Robert G. Inngersoll)
(May we realize) The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from domination of outside conditions. MIBS
(Robert Louis Stevenson)
(May we realize) Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness. MIBS
May we be partial to the Laughing Buddha, for he never ceases to amaze us,
Laughing when the rain pours down upon him or when the sun bakes him.
Nothing takes away his laughter. The spirit emanating from his smile is full of trust, appreciation, and inner joy. He represents the inner intelligence that lives within each of us. He does not try to control chaos. He listens and moves comfortably within the chaos. He is open to the flow of joyous survival versus turbulent survival. The Laughing Buddha shows us that we are the creators of how we want to see the world. MIBS
(adapted from Susan Jeffers)
This we know. The earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.
This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life; we are a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. MIBS
(attributed to Chief Noah Sealth)
Live in joy—with love, even among those who hate.
Live in joy—with peace, even among the troubled.
Let go of winning and losing, and find joy.
Look within; be still.
Free from fear, ignorance and greed
Know the sweet joy of the Way. MIBS
May the world be at peace
May we all have an open heart
May we all know the beauty of our nature
May we all be healed
May we all serve as a gift of peace to each other
May all living beings be free from misery.
May all living beings be happy.
May all living beings abide in equanimity,
And be free from binding attachments and aversions. MIBS
The vast sky does not hinder white clouds.
The falling maple leaf presents both front and back.
Clarity and delusion, sameness and difference, are in harmony.
Each presentation has this integrity—to be free of itself.
The vast sky of Emptiness does not hinder
the flowering of the ten thousand things.
May we together, walking hand-in-hand,
continually realize and manifest this truth.
May the world be at peace
May we all have an open heart
May we all know the beauty of our true nature
May we all be healed
May we all serve as a gift of peace to each other.
May I and all beings be filled with loving kindness.
May I and all beings be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I and all beings be well in body and mind.
May I and all beings be happy and free. MIBS
May you find all blessings, and may all blessings find you.
May you experience the joy of living kindness manifest in each moment and each being. May you use living kindness as a healing force for peace. MIBS (Donald Altman)
Living beings are numberless, I vow to help them all cross over the sea of suffering, the sea of birth and death.
Though afflictions are endless… afflictions such as difficult moods, aversion, greed, confusion… though these afflictions seem inexhaustible and endless, I vow to penetrate and to cut through them all.
Dhamma doors are measureless, I vow to cultivate them all.
We surround all people and all forms of life with infinite love and compassion. Particularly do we send forth loving thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow; to all those in doubt and ignorance, to all who are striving to attain Truth; and to those whose feet are standing close to the great change called death, we send forth oceans of wisdom and love.
I am a link in the Buddha’s golden chain of love that stretches around the world. I must keep my link bright and strong. I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing, and protect all who are weaker than myself. I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts, and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on what I do now depends my happiness and misery. May every link in the Buddha’s golden chain of love become bright and strong, and we all attain Perfect Peace. MIBS
Compassion is not just a noun or a feeling, but is a verb and a call to action. Compassion means to continually act and “Keep going” in one’s efforts. “Keep going” is a spirited shout:
The deluding passions are inexhaustible, I vow to transcend them all.
The gates of Dharma are numberless, I vow to open them all.
Sentient beings are countless, I vow to help them all.
When we wholeheartedly vow to attain the unattainable, we just have to sing and dance with a lively spirit. The only true power in the world is the joy of unbridled compassion. MIBS
May the sound of this bell spread throughout the universe, relieve the three realms of suffering and bring all beings to enlightenment. MIBS
Humbly speak the sweet words of the Dharma. Follow the truth of the Way.
Make it your own. Live it. It will always sustain you. MIBS
May all beings be happy and secure;
May their minds be contented.
Whatever living beings there may be—feeble or strong,
Tall, stout, or medium, short or small or large,
Seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near,
Those who are born and those who are yet to be born—
May all beings without exception, be happy.
Let no one deceive another nor despise any person whatsoever in any place.
In anger or ill-will let no one wish harm to another.
Just as a mother would protect her only child
Even at the risk of her own life,
Even so let one cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.
Let one’s thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world—
Above, below and across—
Without any obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity.
Whether one stands, walks, sits or lies down, as long as one is awake,
One should maintain this mindfulness. MIBS
Do not criticize what you have received nor envy what you do not have. Give thanks for whatever is given. Be pure. Never falter. MIBS
Calm and tranquil come into that empty house, your heart, and know the joy beyond worldly happiness. MIBS
By your own efforts, waken and watch yourself. You are the master and the refuge. So live in love. Do your work. Make an end of your sorrows. As the jasmine sheds its withered flowers, shed your greed and hate. MIBS
Sentient beings without number, I vow to liberate.
Endless blind passions, I vow to uproot.
Dharma gates beyond measure, I vow to penetrate.
The great way of the Buddha, I vow to attain. MIBS
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free. MIBS
NOTE: MIBS = May It Be So