Incense offering: Offering incense symbolizes our efforts to purify our Karma – Our thoughts, speech, and actions. It is also a way to express gratitude to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and our efforts to practice the Way.
3 Refuges, Bowing/Prostrations: The Three Refuges are The Buddha, The Dharma (Teachings) and the Sangha (community in which we practice).Taking Refuge is an expression of our confidence in the Three Refuges. Bowing and prostrating are ways in which to pay respectful homage to ultimate wisdom, and/or someone who embodies it, and to our own ability to awaken. We may wish to join our palms together and bow when greeting each other. Prostrating is an act of humility and helps us to overcome pride, which is a hindrance to transformation. Rapid consecutive prostrations can be an aid in preparing the body and mind for meditation.
5 Precepts Recitation: As a community, we recite the Lay Precepts to support one another’s efforts to practice or uphold the moral conducts offered by the Buddha for lay people.
Heart Sutra Chanting : The Heart Sutra expresses the Buddhist belief in the interdependent nature of all reality and of its impermanence. The Mokyo (wooden fish) is used during sutra chanting to help keep rhythm and develop concentration. The two fish carved into the Mokyo represent unity.
Sitting Meditation (15 minutes): During meditation we practice mindfulness of the breath using it as a bridge between body and mind. Breathing in, I am aware I am breathing in — breathing out, I know that I am breathing out. We don’t try to control the breath, we merely keep an awareness of the breath as it enters and exits the body through the nostrils. Some meditation mats and cushions will be provided but we suggest you bring your own cushion/bench if you have one.
Walking Meditation: We use the breath as a bridge between our body and mind. We are aware of our feet touching the ground, but we keep pace as a Sangha, not as an individual.