Verses for Daily LIving


Calling the Sangha to the Meditation Hall

Inviting and Listening to the Bell

May the sound of this bell penetrate deeply into the cosmos
In even the darkest places, may living beings hear it clearly
So that understanding comes to their heart, and without hardship
They transcend the cycle of birth and death

Listening to the bell I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve
My mind becomes calm, my body relaxed, and a smile is born on my lips
Following the sound of the bell, my breath guides me back to the safe island of mindfulness
In the garden of my heart the flower of peace blooms beautifully


In the Meditation Hall

Entering the Meditation Hall

Entering the meditation hall
I see my true self
As I sit down
I vow to cut off all disturbances


Lighting a Candle

 Respectful of countless Buddhas
I calmly light this candle
Brightening the face of the earth


 Praising Buddha

As refreshing as a lotus flower
As bright as the North Star
To the Buddha, I go for refuge


Praising Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha

The Buddha jewel shines infinitely,
He has realized Enlightenment for countless lifetimes
The beauty and stability of a Buddha sitting
Can be seen in mountains and rivers
How splendid is the Vulture peak!
How beautiful the light which shines forth from Buddha’s third eye
Illuminating the six dark paths
The Nagapuspa assembly will be our next appointment
For the continuation of the true teachings and practices
We take refuge in the Buddha ever-present

The Dharma jewel is infinitely lovely
Precious words spoken by the Buddha himself
Like fragrant flowers floating down from the heavens
The wonderful Dharma is plain to see
Recorded luminously in three transparant baskets
Handed down from generation to generation in the ten directions
So that today we can see our way
We vow to study it with all our heart
We take refuge in the Dharma ever-present

The sangha jewel is infinitely precious
A field of merit where good seeds can be sown
The three robes and the bowl are symbols of freedom
Precepts, concentration, and insight support each other
The sangha dwells in mindfulness day and night
Providing the foundation for us to realize the fruit of meditation
With one heart we come home to the sangha
We take refuge in the sangha ever present


Sitting Down

Sitting here is like sitting under a Bodhi tree
My body is mindfulness itself
Calm and at ease
Free from all distraction


Finding a Stable Sitting Position

In the lotus position
The human flower blooms
The udumbara flower is here
Offering its true fragrance


Inviting the Bell to Sound

 Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness
I  send my heart along with the sound of the bell
May the hearers waken from forgetfulness
And transcend all anxiety and sorrow


Listening to the Bell

Listen, listen
This wonderful sound
Brings me back to my true home


Sitting Meditation-morning verse

(this gatha is chanted or read by the bell master as the bell is invited to begin the morning meditation)

The Dharmakaya is bringing morning light
In concentration, my heart is at peace,
A half-smile is born on my lips
The day is new, I vow to live in an awakened way
Allowing the  sun of wisdom to shine everywhere

Noble Sangha, diligently bring your mind into meditation

Namo Sakyamuneya Buddhaya (3 times)


Sitting Meditation-evening verse     

(this gatha is chanted or read by the bell master as the bell is invited to begin the evening meditation)

Sitting at the foot of the Bodhi tree, enjoyng my stable posture
Body, speech, and mind are calm, in stillness
There is no thought of right and wrong
My mind and body dwell in perfect mindfulness

The path illumined, the shore of illusion left behind
Noble Sangha, diligently bring your mind into meditation

Namo Sakyamuneya Buddhaya (3 times) 


Following the Breath

Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in
And breathing, out I know
As the in-breath goes deep
The out-breath grows slow

Breathing in makes me calm
Breathing out brings me ease
With the in breath, I smile
With the out breath, I release

Breathing in, there is only the present moment
Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment

In, Out
Deep, Slow
Calm, Ease
Smile, Release
Present moment, Wonderful moment


 Adjusting Meditation Posture

 Feelings come and go
Like clouds in a windy sky
Conscious breathing is my anchor


Cleaning the Meditation Hall

As I clean this fresh, calm room
Boundless joy and energy arise



As I carefully sweep the ground of enlightenment
A tree of understanding springs up from the earth


Greeting Someone

(placing palms together)

 A lotus for you
A Buddha to be


Silen Meals


 The Five Comtemplations

(this verse is read aloud by one person before a silent meal)

This food is the gift of the whole universe; the earth, the sky and much hard work
May we live in such a way that we are worthy to receive it
May we transform our unskillful states of mind, and learn to eat with moderation
May we take only foods which nourish us and prevent illness
We accept this food in order to practice the path of understanding and love

Looking at your Empty Plate or Bowl

(this verse helps us meditate on the reality of hunger in the world)

 My plate (bowl), empty now
Will soon be filled with precious food

Sitting Down

(this verse is a promise that we will guard our mindfulness throughout the meal)

Sitting here
Is like sitting under the Bodhi tree
My body is mindfulness itself
Entirely free from distraction


Looking at the Plate of Food Before the First Bite

(this verse helps us nourish our feeling of love and compassion toward those who are less lucky than we are)

 Beings all over the Earth
Are struggling to live
May we practice
So that all may have enough to eat

Contemplating the Food

(this verse helps us see the work of the farmer, and also the tens of thousands of children who die from lack of food every day)

This plate of food
So fragrant and appetizing
Also contains much suffering

Beginning to Eat

(This verse can be recited slowly while chewing the first four bites. It helps us to remember the Four Immeasurable Minds—love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. These four beautiful dwelling places for our minds are the four great actions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas)

With the first taste, I practice the love which brings joy
With the second taste, I practice the love which relieves suffering
With the third taste, I practice the love of being alive
With the fourth taste I practice not taking sides

Looking at your Empty Plate

(this verse reminds us of the Four Gratitudes—to parents, teachers, friends, and all beings in the animal, vegetal, and mineral worlds)

My plate (bowl) is empty
My hunger is satisfied
I am determined to live for the benefit of all beings

Drinking Tea

(this verse helps us return to the life of the present moment and see the presence of those around us, the world around us, and all the tiny, essential details of life in the present moment)

This cup of tea in my two hands
Mindfulness held upright
My body and mind dwell
In the very here and now