Morning Meditation Practices

Join us for our morning meditation practices

5:30 every morning the Sravasti Abbey community starts the day with these recitation and meditation practices.

You can join by using these texts and links.

Preliminary practices

Begin with three bows to the Buddha 

Chant this mantra as you bow.

om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo uttama shriye soha.

(Audio is included in “Morning Mantras” below.)

Instruction video for how to make prostrations.

Audio instruction for what to visualize as you bow.

Setting up your altar and six preliminary practices

It’s good to set up a regular meditation space and to do the prelimary practices as a way to prepare your mind before you start.

Short video on why and how video to set up your altar,

Video teaching on establishing a meditation practice and the six preparatory practices.

Settle and Focus Your Mind

Take a seat and take a few moments to calm your mind with meditation on the breath. (Find instructions and teachings here.)

Here’s a guided breathing meditation. Find more basic meditation instructions here and teachings on 6 kinds of breathing meditation here.

Here’s a guided breathing meditation.

 

Morning mantras text and audio

 

It is good to recite the following mantras in the morning to prepare for the day’s activities. 

Multiplying mantra

om sambhara sambhara bimana sara maha dzawa hung/ om mara mara bimana kara maha dzawa hung

The Parinata-cakra-sutra says that if this is recited seven times, whatever virtuous actions you do that day will be multiplied by 100,000.

Blessing the rosary

om rutsira mani prawa taya hum

In the Palace of Vast Jewels, it says to recite this seven times and then blow on the rosary to increase the power of subsequent recitations.

Blessing the feet

om kraytsara ghana hum hri soha

Reciting this three times and then spitting on the soles of your feet helps any living creature that dies beneath your feet that day to be reborn in the God Realm of the Thirty-three.

Blessing the speech

To the Three Jewels I go for refuge. May I become Buddha for the benefit of migrating beings. (3x)

I am the deity. On my tongue from an AH comes a moon disc. On it is a white OM. Around that are the white Sanskrit vowels standing clockwise. Around that are the red Sanskrit consonants standing anticlockwise. Around that are the blue syllables of the heart of dependent arising mantra, standing clockwise. Visualizing this, I recite these in succession, beginning with the innermost.

Sanskrit vowels: om a a i i u u ri ri li li e ai o au am ah soha (3x)

Sanskrit consonants: om ka kha ga gha nga/ cha chha ja jha nya/ tra thra dra dhra nra/ ta tha da dha na/ pa pha ba bha ma/ ya ra la wa/ sha shha sa ha ksha soha  (3x) (3x)

Heart of Dependent Arising: om ye dharma haytu prabhava haytunte shan tatagato hyawadat/ teshan tsayo nirodha ewam wadi maha shramanaye soha (3x)

(Phenomena arise from causes; those causes have been taught by the Tathagata, and their cessation, too, has been proclaimed by the Great Renunciate.)

Light from the OM and the mantra garlands summons inspiring powers of speech, worldly and supermundane, in the form of the three mantras, the seven perfect royal treasures, and the eight auspicious signs. These dissolve into the OM and the mantra garlands. Then the Heart of Dependent Arising mantra dissolves into the Sanskrit consonants, that into the Sanskrit vowels, that into the OM, and that into the moon disc. This transforms into an AH, which melts into white and red nectar and dissolves into the tongue, making it the nature of vajra.

Here’s the audio.

Audio Player

 

Prostrations to 35 Buddhas

The Bodhisattvas’ Confession of Ethical Downfalls

(Click here to read about the four opponent powers, purification in general, and commentary on this practice.)

Visualization

There are several visualizations of the thirty-five Buddhas. The easiest is to visualize Shakyamuni Buddha, golden in color, with thirty-four light rays coming from his heart. These light rays form five rows and upon each ray is seated a Buddha. The Buddhas in each row resemble one of the five Dhyani Buddhas.

In the first row are the next six Buddhas mentioned in the prayer. They resemble Akshobya Buddha, blue, the left hand in his lap in the gesture of meditative equipoise, the right hand in the earth-touching gesture (on the right knee, palm down). However, the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas, looks slightly different: he has a blue body, a white face, and his hands are folded together at his heart.

In the second row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Vairocana Buddha, white, with both hands at the heart, the index fingers extended.

In the third row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Ratnasambhava Buddha, yellow. His left hand is in meditative equipoise, and his right hand is in the gesture of giving (on the right knee, palm outwards).

In the fourth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amitabha Buddha, red, with both hands in meditative equipoise on his lap.

In the fifth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amogasiddhi Buddha, green. The left hand is in meditative equipoise and the right hand is bent at the elbow, the palm facing outwards.

Visualize that you are surrounded by all sentient beings in human form and that you are leading them in prostrating to the Buddhas. While prostrating, imagine much light coming from the Buddhas and flowing into you and into all the sentient beings around you. This light purifies all imprints of destructive actions and all afflictions.

After reciting the names of the thirty-five Buddhas and the prayer of the three heaps – confession, rejoicing, and dedication – you may also want to recite the “General Confession.”

After this, visualize the thirty-four Buddhas dissolve into Shakyamuni Buddha. He comes on top of your head and melts into golden light. The light descends through the crown of your head and goes to your heart chakra, in the center of your chest. Feel that all destructive karma and obscurations have been completely purified and that your mind has become inseparable from the Buddha’s pure mind of wisdom and compassion.

Recitations and Practice

To increase the benefit of each prostration, first prostrate three times while reciting:

om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo uttama shriye soha.

Continue to prostrate while reciting the names of the Buddhas and the confession prayer.

 

I, (say your name) throughout all times, take refuge in the Gurus; I take refuge in the Buddhas; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha.

To the Founder, the Transcendent Destroyer, the One Thus Gone,[1] the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Awakened One, the Glorious Conqueror from the Shakyas, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Great Destroyer, Destroying with Vajra Essence, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Radiating Light, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Leader of the Warriors, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Blissful One, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Fire, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moonlight, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, Whose Pure Vision Brings Accomplishments, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moon, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Stainless One, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Giver, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Pure One, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Bestower of Purity, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Celestial Waters, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Deity of the Celestial Waters, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Good, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Sandalwood, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the One of Unlimited Splendor, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Light, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One without Sorrow, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Son of the Desireless One, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Flower, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of Purity, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of the Lotus, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Gem, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who is Mindful, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One whose Name is Extremely Renowned, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the King Holding the Banner of Victory over the Senses, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Subdues Everything Completely, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Victorious One in All Battles, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One Gone to Perfect Self-control, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Enhances and Illuminates Completely, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Lotus who Subdues All, I bow down.

To the One Thus Gone, the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Awakened One, the King with Power over Mount Meru, always remaining in the Jewel and the Lotus, I bow down.

(Optional: If you wish to bow to the seven Medicine Buddhas)

To the Buddha, Renowned Glorious King of Excellent Signs, I bow down.

To the Buddha, King of Melodious Sound, I bow down.

To the Buddha, Stainless Excellent Gold, I bow down.

To the Buddha, Supreme Glory Free From Sorrow, I bow down.

To the Buddha, Melodious Ocean of Renowned Dharma, I bow down.

To the Buddha, Delightful King of Clear Knowing, I bow down.

To the Medicine Buddha, King of Lapis Light, I bow down.

All you thirty-five Buddhas, and all the others, those thus gone, foe destroyers, fully awakened ones and transcendent destroyers who are existing, sustaining and living throughout the ten directions of sentient beings’ worlds – all you Buddhas, please give me your attention.

In this life, and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, I have created, caused others to create, and rejoiced at the creation of destructive karmas such as misusing offerings to holy objects, misusing offerings to the Sangha, stealing the possessions of the Sangha of the ten directions; I have caused others to create these destructive actions and rejoiced at their creation.

I have created the five heinous actions,[2] caused others to create them and rejoiced at their creation. I have committed the ten non-virtuous actions,[3] involved others in them, and rejoiced in their involvement.

Being obscured by all this karma, I have created the cause for myself and other sentient beings to be reborn in the hells, as animals, as hungry ghosts, in irreligious places, amongst barbarians, as long-lived gods, with imperfect senses, holding wrong views, and being displeased with the presence of a Buddha.

Now before these Buddhas, transcendent destroyers who have become transcendental wisdom, who have become the compassionate eye, who have become witnesses, who have become valid and see with their omniscient minds, I am confessing and accepting all these actions as destructive. I will not conceal or hide them, and from now on, I will refrain from committing these destructive actions.

Buddhas and transcendent destroyers, please give me your attention: in this life and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, whatever root of virtue I have created through even the smallest acts of charity such as giving one mouthful of food to a being born as an animal, whatever root of virtue I have created by keeping pure ethical conduct, whatever root of virtue I have created by abiding in pure conduct, whatever root of virtue I have created by fully ripening sentient beings’ minds, whatever root of virtue I have created by generating bodhicitta, whatever root of virtue I have created of the highest transcendental wisdom.

Bringing together all these merits of both myself and others, I now dedicate them to the highest of which there is no higher, to that even above the highest, to the highest of the high, to the higher of the high. Thus I dedicate them completely to the highest, fully accomplished awakening.

Just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the past have dedicated, just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the future will dedicate, and just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the present are dedicating, in the same way I make this dedication.

I confess all my destructive actions separately and rejoice in all merits. I implore all the Buddhas to grant my request that I may realize the ultimate, sublime, highest transcendental wisdom.

To the sublime kings of the human beings living now, to those of the past, and to those who have yet to appear, to all those whose knowledge is as vast as an infinite ocean, with my hands folded in respect, I go for refuge.

General Confession

Woe is me!

O spiritual mentors, great vajra holders, and all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, as well as all the venerable Sangha, please pay attention to me.

I, who am named ____________, circling in cyclic existence since beginningless time until the present, overpowered by afflictions such as attachment, hostility, and ignorance, have created the ten destructive actions by means of body, speech and mind. I have engaged in the five heinous actions and the five parallel heinous actions.[4] I have transgressed the precepts of individual liberation,[5] contradicted the trainings of a bodhisattva,[6] broken the tantric commitments.[7] I have been disrespectful to my kind parents, spiritual mentors, spiritual friends, and those following the pure paths. I have committed actions harmful to the Three Jewels, avoided the holy Dharma, criticized the Arya[8] Sangha, and harmed living beings. These and many other destructive actions I have done, have caused others to do, and have rejoiced in others’ doing. In short, I have created many obstacles to my own higher rebirth and liberation, and have planted countless seeds for further wanderings in cyclic existence and miserable states of being.

Now in the presence of the spiritual mentors, the great vajra holders, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, and the venerable Sangha, I confess all of these destructive actions, I will not conceal them and I accept them as destructive. I promise to refrain from doing these actions again in the future. By confessing and acknowledging them, I will attain and abide in happiness, while by not confessing and acknowledging them, true happiness will not come.

[1] The Buddhas are called the Ones Thus Gone (Tathagata) because they have gone beyond the misery of cyclic existence to complete awakening by abandoning all defilements and subtle obscurations. They also have realized the ultimate nature of all phenomena, suchness or emptiness.

[2] The five heinous actions are: causing a schism in the Sangha, killing one’s father, killing one’s mother, killing an arhat, and drawing blood from the Buddha’s body.

[3] The ten non-virtuous actions are: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, (three of the body); lying, divisive speech, harsh words, idle talk, (four of speech); covetousness, maliciousness, and wrong views (three of mind).

[4] The five parallel heinous actions are: killing a bodhisattva, killing an arya (one who has realized emptiness directly), stealing the provisions or funds of the Sangha community, destroying a monastery or stupa with anger, committing incest with one’s mother who is an arhat.

[5] The vows of individual liberation include the five lay precepts, the vows of novice and fully-ordained monks and nuns, and the one-day vows.

[6] The trainings of the bodhisattva include the guidelines for aspiring bodhicitta and the 18 root and 46 auxiliary bodhisattva precepts.

[7] The tantric commitments include the 14 root and 8 auxiliary tantric vows, the 19 samaya of the five Buddha families, and other commitments taken at the time of empowerment into practices of the highest class of tantra.

[8] An arya is someone who has realized the emptiness of inherent existence directly and non-conceptually.

Shakyamuni Buddha Practice Recitations

Buddha

We will lead you in the Shakyamuni Buddha meditation. These are the recitations.

Find the full practice text, complete with instructions on how to think at each step of the practice, along with audio of Ven. Thubten Chodron guiding the practice, here.

Abbreviated Recitations

Refuge

Namo Gurubhya. Namo Buddhaya. Namo Dharmaya. Namo Sanghaya.  (3x or 7x)

Refuge and Bodhicitta

I take refuge until I have awakened in the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha. By the merit I create by engaging in generosity and the other far-reaching practices, may I attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings.  (3x)

The Four Immeasurables

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

Seven Limb Prayer

Reverently I prostrate with my body, speech and mind,
And present clouds of every type of offering, actual and mentally transformed.
I confess all my destructive actions accumulated since beginningless time,
And rejoice in the virtues of all holy and ordinary beings.
Please remain until cyclic existence ends,
And turn the wheel of Dharma for sentient beings.
I dedicate all the virtues of myself and others to the great awakening.

Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you.
May all beings enjoy this pure land.

The objects of attachment, aversion and ignorance – friends, enemies and strangers, my body, wealth and enjoyments – I offer these without any sense of loss. Please accept them with pleasure, and inspire me and others to be free from the three poisonous attitudes.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami

Requesting Inspiration

Glorious and precious root guru, sit upon the lotus and moon seat on my crown. Guiding me with your great kindness, bestow upon me the attainments of your body, speech and mind.

The eyes through whom the vast scriptures are seen, supreme doors for the fortunate who would cross over to spiritual freedom, illuminators whose wise means vibrate with compassion, to the entire line of spiritual mentors I make request.

Shakyamuni Buddha’s Mantra

Tayata om muni muni maha muniye soha   (21x)

Dedication of Merit

Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the awakened state of Guru Buddha,
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.

May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.

Long life prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In the snowy mountain pure land
You’re the source of good and happiness.
Powerful Tenzin Gyatso Chenresig,
May you stay until samsara ends.

Monastic Mind Motivation

Having a “monastic mind” benefits our Dharma practice whether we are monastics or lay practitioners. A monastic mind is one that is humble, imbued with the Buddhist worldview, dedicated to cultivating mindfulness, clear knowing, love, compassion, wisdom, and other good qualities. Being mindful of the kindness I have received from all sentient beings, I will relate to them with patience, kindness, and compassion. I will be mindful of my precepts and values and will cultivate clear knowing of my thoughts and feelings, as well as how I speak and act. I will take care to act and speak at suitable times and in appropriate ways, abandoning idle talk and disruptive movements. With respect for others and confidence in my good qualities, I will be humble and easy for others to speak to. In all these activities, I will endeavor to remember impermanence and the emptiness of inherent existence and to act with bodhicitta.

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