Monday, 22 October 2007

My daily practice



My daily practice is based on the format used at Plum Village. It is described in Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practice.' I use a Sony Walkman MP3 player and set of MP3 speakers and a meditation timer to help me along.

I've set up an altar in a corner of my bedroom on which I've placed my statue of Buddha, two candles, a small statue of Jesus, a Tibetan singing bowl and striker, an incense burner, and a box containing my mala. This low table has two shelves. On the bottom shelf are my MP3 player and speakers, timer, framed photo of family members, and small boxes containing matches, incense and other supplies.

I meditate twice a day, morning and evening. Some days I only manage one or the other, but I am working to improve that.

Thich Nhat Hanh's advice on daily practice:

A daily practice session commonly begins with a period of sitting meditation, followed by slow walking meditation, then a session of chanting and recitation. The first sitting period can be a guided meditation. During a shorter practice session, you may wish to practice sitting for only 12 minutes. If you do not wish to do chanting and recitation, simply replace it with a second session of sitting meditation. What is most important is to create a daily practice that you will enjoy as part of your own daily life and that of your practice community.

For me, a typical morning meditation is
1. Light candles and ring tibetan singing bowl three times
2. Chant 3 refuges on my own ('Buddham saranam gacchami, darhmam saranam gacchami, sangham saranam gacchami')
3. 12 minutes sitting meditation to the sound of the bell (downloaded from CD)
4. Chant Metta Sutta (downloaded from internet)
5. Close by ringing bell three times.

Evening meditation usually includes
1. Light candles and ring bowl
2. 12-15 minute sitting meditation
3. Chant Heart Sutra (downloaded from CD)
4. Chant 'Taking refuge' song (downloaded from CD)
5. Close by ringing bell three times.

Occasionally I will use my mala to chant mantras instead of doing silent sitting meditation. I particularly like 'om mani padme hum' and 'gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.'

On weekends, I sometimes do longer practice sessions that include listening to readings of various sutras and/or reflecting on the 5 Remembrances.

I would like to incorporate walking meditation into some of these sessions, when I can. That will probably be a weekend thing.

May all beings be at ease.

1 comment:

blondeez said...

Thank you for sharing the particulars of your meditations. I have been trying to improve my meditations during yoga and start doing them at home, but I find myself very impatient. Both too impatient to sit still, and impatient with myself for not falling into a satisfying practice right away.

I guess patience will come as I practice, but it's good to know that guided meditation isn't cheating. Maybe I will try that. Walking meditation sounds interesting as well.