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Friday, April 13, 2007

My Meditation "Rituals"

I thought I'd write a bit about how I start and end my meditation sessions. I will also speak of a new adaptation to the taking refuge vows at the end of the sitting.

(Most of my "rituals" come from Thich Nhat Hanh's recommendations) First, I breath in and out deeply three times in front of my altar taking in the moment and preparing myself to enter meditation. Then I say the following gatha before sounding the bell three times:

Body speech and mind in perfect oneness, I send my heart along with the sound of this bell. May the hearers awaken from their forgetfulness- and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.

Then I breath deeply as I ring the bell threes times and bowing after each sounding. During the bowing and ringing of the bell I saying the follow while breathing deeply yet naturally:

I listen, I listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.

At this point I light a tea light candle as say:

Respectful of countless Buddhas I light this candle--brightening the face of the Earth.
I then bow.

Next, I light the incense saying:

In gratitude I offer this incense to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time. May it be fragrant as Earth herself. Reflecting our careful efforts, our whole-hearted mindfulness and the fruit of understanding--slowly ripening. May all beings be companions of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. May we awaken from forgetfulness and realize our true home.

I then sound the bell and bow to the Buddha within us all.

Finally I bow to my cushion and settle in for meditation.

Upon finishing my session I ring the bell three times, again reciting the gatha (I listen, I listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home). Then I get up slowly and take refuge in the three jewels. I use to just simply say: I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha but I have since added a few words to make it sink it more.

Now I say:

Aware of the Buddha within I take refuge in the Buddha. Aware of the 4 Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path I take refuge in the Dharma and aware of interconnectivity of all things I take refuge in the Sangha. And of course I bow between each refuge.

And that's my usual session.

Today I am headed over to my parent's house to teach some basics of meditation to my father. I'm excited but I'm also nervous--I've never taught anyone before. I do have a natural teaching talent, however, in other areas so I'm sure it will go just fine. We will be going slowly anyway so it should be fun. It's a lovely way to bond with my friend and father. :)

Enjoy your breathing!!

PHOTO: Image representing the Three Jewels of Buddhism--found HERE.

~Peace to all beings~

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Greenwoman said...


I am deeply honored to be given an insight into your practice. It's beautiful. What a lovely ritual.

Thank you...

They call him James Ure said...


Aww thank-you. It is very peaceful for me and helps book-end my sessions. The rituals help put me in the right frame of mind. They also allow me move in and out of meditation seamlessly.

Jeannie said...

I just discovered your wonderful blog yesterday. With your permission, I would like to add a link to your blog onto my page.

May you be happy and content.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be free from suffering.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy said...

Hi James. Thanks for sharing your ritual. Your blog has been a great place of learning for me since I discovered it. I wanted to ask about your practice: do you time your meditations? If so, how do you do it? Namaste.

They call him James Ure said...


Feel free to link to my blog--I would be honored. Thank-you for the lovely sentiments as well. I wish the same for you dear one. :)


That's great. That is what I wanted this blog to be. A place to learn from each other and interact with other followers.

I do time my meditations. I found a place online that has a program for a 20 minute meditation. It has 7 tracks. First track is silence, the second rings a bell, the third through six is silence for meditation and the seventh rings the bell again to end the session.

I'll dig around and see if I can find the program. If not, I can just burn a copy if you don't mind giving me your address. I promise, I'm a very nice guy. :)

Jeannie said...

Thank you!

Tracy said...

Thanks for leaving the message over on my blog. Yes, I found the Treeleaf Zendo Timer which is great.

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