Offering service is a significant component of monastic training as we learn to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings into all our activities. The Sravasti Abbey community wrote their own thought-training gathas to transform their day-to-day tasks into bodhisattva practices.

nov12gatha1by Ven. Tarpa

May this effort repay the kindness of my spiritual mentors.
This is the prayer of a Dharma practitioner when offering service.

May this conversation serve as a condition for ease and harmony in the minds of all present. This is the prayer of a Dharma practitioner when entering into a meeting.

 

by Ven. Semkye

nov12gatha2May all sentient beings be warmed by the fire of wisdom. This is the prayer of bodhisattvas when starting a fire.

May all sentient beings realize the illusion–like nature of reality. This is the prayer of bodhisattvas when choosing photos for the web site.

May all sentient beings be free of the pain of aversion and attachment. This is the prayer of bodhisattvas when loading the truck with old forest debris.

May all sentient being’s minds be filled with the bliss of samadhi. This is the prayer of bodhisattvas when eating double fudge chocolate cake.

May all sentient beings develop equanimity, free of bias, anger, and attachment. This is the prayer of bodhisattvas when offering service with others on a variety of projects.

by Ven. Chonyi

nov12gatha3Sipping the morning’s first tea
warm and steaming, strong and sweet,
May I free all beings from hunger or thirst,
May they drink pure wisdom & be freed.

Musing on the messages
to publicize retreats,
May these words bring Dharma
to those who can hear it
inspiring them all to attend.

Cleansing the bowls in warm soapy water
May afflictions be as easily cleared from my mind.
With purified thought, compassion arises.
May all interactions be gentle and kind.

May the mirror of this computer
Reflect only what is wholesome.
May this marvelous tool be used for good
And take good news to the world.

by Ven. Jigme

nov12gatha4Awaiting the computer to boot up
I center my mind, rejoice in this precious human life and offer service with a bodhicitta motivation

Placing my fingers on the keyboard
I reach out with kindness to all sentient beings

Hearing the phone ring
I hear the teachings of the Buddha

Washing my tea cup
I remove the defilements of my mind

Reading a letter from an inmate
I remind myself of cause and effect the emptiness of inherent existence and Buddha nature

 

by Ven. Samten

nov12gatha5May all beings be free of worldly activities that lead to non-virtue. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when cutting down trees to restore the health and vitality of the forest.

May all beings no longer create the karma that brings Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when going to the meditation hall, even when they feel too tired to do so.

May all beings create the causes and conditions to live a meaningful life. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva when engaged in answering emails.

by Ven. Yeshe

nov12gatha6
Breathing in, I know that anger pushes people away from me.
Breathing out, I know and let go of the anger in me.
Breathing in, I know I must take care of myself.
Breathing out, I know loving kindness is the only answer.
nov12gatha7by Ven. Tsultrim

May all sentient beings’ minds be free from defilements. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva while cleaning a compost toilet.

May all sentient beings hear the true Dharma. This is the prayer of the bodhisattva while doing audio work

May all sentient beings be free of emergency situations. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva while checking emergency equipment.

May all sentient beings have a thirst to learn the Dharma. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva while working on the water system.

May all sentient beings have conducive circumstances to do proper meditation all the way to awakening. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva while working on the meditation hall.

by Dani (now Ven. Jampa)

nov12gatha8May all beings be free of mental afflictions and physical difficulties. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when walking up a hill on a windy and rainy day.

May all beings attain joyous effort. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when reminding others to do their chores.

May all beings be purified from their deepest afflictions. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when cleaning toilets.

May all beings attain love, compassion, concentration, and wisdom to progress along the path. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when facilitating SAFE (Sravasti Abbey Friends Education).

May all beings prepare themselves sufficiently to deepen their spiritual path. This is a prayer of a bodhisattva when preparing for retreats.

by Katya

nov12gatha9May all beings nurture virtuous seeds; this is a prayer of a bodhisattva watering a garden.

May all beings have access to pure Dharma and qualified spiritual mentors, this is a prayer of a bodhisattva uploading a Dharma teaching on the web.

May all beings create auspicious conditions for awakening, this is a prayer of a bodhisattva writing thank you postcards to generous supporters.

May Dharma be preserved for many generations; this is a prayer of a bodhisattva videotaping a Dharma teaching.

May all beings be strongly connected to an unbroken lineage of spiritual mentors; this is a prayer of a bodhisattva taking mail down to mailbox.

nov12gatha10by Jack

To fulfill the aims of all Buddha’s, I spend my time creating the perfect sculpture. One for the hall to be built and the other for the hall being built in my mind.

Waking up and filling Haroldina with logs to fuel the heat in winter, I also wake up and fill my mind with virtuous merit, to fuel my mind-stream to complete the ultimate goal.

 

nov12gatha11 by Zopa

May all beings be liberated from the judgmental, unhappy, grumpy mind and see/hear the Buddha in each email request. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva when answering emails.

May all beings be infused with joyous effort, a spirit of giving and gratitude for the opportunity to offer service to all beings. This is the prayer of a bodhisattva when doing her weekly offering service chores.