Liturgy as part of daily practice

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  • Risho
    Member
    • May 2010
    • 3179

    Liturgy as part of daily practice

    My exposure to Zen liturgy is limited to what I've read here in the Treeleaf chant book, the forums, and a book I purchased earlier this year called "Celebrating Everyday Life" by John Daido Loori.

    In any case, the book talks about how to integrate liturgy into daily lay practice. For instance, reciting "The Heart Sutra" followed by "The Heart Sutra Dedication". There is another service called "HEALING SERVICE DEDICATION", which involves reciting the "Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo".

    I've been following the suggested liturgy pattern in that book but, since I'm part of this Sangha, I'd like to do what this Sangha does, e.g. chanting the translations of "The Four Bodhisattva Vows" used by treeleaf, etc.

    In any case, is it part of Treeleaf's tradition to chant the "Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo", or recommend chanting "The Heart Sutra" followed by a dedication in daily practice?

    **EDIT
    I guess more generally, are there liturgy practices, in our tradition, to incorporate with daily practice?
    Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com
  • em
    Member
    • Jan 2008
    • 52

    #2
    Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

    Hi Cyril,
    I can't answer your questions, but I have one of my own. Would you like to tell a bit more of how you use the book and what pattern it lays out?

    Gassho,
    em

    Comment

    • Risho
      Member
      • May 2010
      • 3179

      #3
      Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

      The Heart Sutra and Heart Sutra dedication daily (I usually do this after morning zazen)

      After Morning Zazen
      - The Verse of the Vestment of Compassion
      - I will follow morning zazen with the heart sutra and a dedication (also Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo if I want to think of those who need healing)

      After Evening Zazen
      - The 4 Bodhisattva Vows
      - Evening Gatha

      Before work
      - Work Gatha (this is the words "Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha!" 5 times followed by the words "Prajna Paramita" )

      Before meals
      - Meal Gatha
      Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

      Comment

      • Taylor
        Member
        • May 2010
        • 388

        #4
        Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

        Great question! Again, I'm sorry I cannot be of any help to your question but I have a small practice of my own. A silent liturgy of sorts. The gathas are amazing, but unless I carry around about 50 pocketmods full of them, I can never remember them! The lines get mixed up and bleh.... So my liturgy day goes like this (or at least I'm trying to make it to go like this).

        Morning Zazen:
        Gassho
        4 vows
        Working:
        Gassho
        Eating
        Gassho
        Evening zazen:
        Gassho
        Verse of Atonement

        I always fumble with words, making things too long or not saying enough. So instead, I have been trying to mark things with just a simple bow. A bow to the morning sun for being just as it is, a bow to my meal and all those who worked to provide it, and a bow to the stars. Maybe once I print out a pocketmod or two I'll get more liturgy in

        A gassho of deep respect to you and your commitment
        Taylor
        Gassho,
        Myoken
        [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

        Comment

        • chicanobudista
          Member
          • Mar 2008
          • 864

          #5
          Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

          Originally posted by cyril
          Before work
          - Work Gatha (this is the words "Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha!" 5 times followed by the words "Prajna Paramita" )
          Just curious...why is this a work gatha? :?:
          paz,
          Erik


          Flor de Nopal Sangha

          Comment

          • Risho
            Member
            • May 2010
            • 3179

            #6
            Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

            Originally posted by chicanobudista
            Originally posted by cyril
            Before work
            - Work Gatha (this is the words "Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi Svaha!" 5 times followed by the words "Prajna Paramita" )
            Just curious...why is this a work gatha? :?:
            That's a good question, that I don't know the answer to. lol The book just says that doing the work gatha allows us to dedicate our work to all beings, to make us think about the work we do, how it involves more than just ourself and how right livelihood comes into play.

            Are there other work gathas?
            Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39459

              #7
              Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

              Originally posted by cyril
              My exposure to Zen liturgy is limited to what I've read here in the Treeleaf chant book, the forums, and a book I purchased earlier this year called "Celebrating Everyday Life" by John Daido Loori.

              In any case, the book talks about how to integrate liturgy into daily lay practice. For instance, reciting "The Heart Sutra" followed by "The Heart Sutra Dedication". There is another service called "HEALING SERVICE DEDICATION", which involves reciting the "Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo".

              I've been following the suggested liturgy pattern in that book but, since I'm part of this Sangha, I'd like to do what this Sangha does, e.g. chanting the translations of "The Four Bodhisattva Vows" used by treeleaf, etc.

              In any case, is it part of Treeleaf's tradition to chant the "Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo", or recommend chanting "The Heart Sutra" followed by a dedication in daily practice?

              **EDIT
              I guess more generally, are there liturgy practices, in our tradition, to incorporate with daily practice?
              Thank you for mentioning Daido Loori's book, which I had not read (I just ordered it).

              We do not have a particular recommended daily liturgy here, although people may wish to incorporate various elements into their day to day lives. Remember ... IT IS ALL SACRED, every single step and breath and sneeze, even the most "ordinary" activity is anything but ordinary (I just did a little talk on the Buddha's tooth brushing) ...

              http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=17287

              We also had a recent thread in which people offered various Gatha ... some traditional, some very creative ... which serve as little lessons and reminders of that sacredness in various daily activities ...

              viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2115&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hi lit=gatha

              Here is one from Al/Shinkai ...

              Grinding fresh afternoon coffee
              I vow with all beings
              to inhale each moment
              dropping likes and dislikes.
              At our weekly Zazenkai ...

              viewforum.php?f=11

              We have various Chants we recite (although now the Chant Book is in the process of being slightly revised... the new version should be out soon) ...

              viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2231

              These include the Heart Sutra, the Identity of Relative and Absolute (at the monthly long Zazenkai on the first Saturday of each month ... next Saturday, by the way! ), the Verse of Atonement and Four Vows. Any of those can be recited daily, and it is very nice to recite the Verse of Atonement and Four Vows daily.

              I certainly recommend the Metta Verses, which is a "Recommended Daily Practice" here at Treeleaf ... Please read about that here ...

              viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1199

              We recite the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo at our Annual Rohatsu Retreat ...

              http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/arch ... 09---.html

              although Taigu is now revising the wording of the translation of that we were using, which will be in our new Chant Book.

              The Verse of the Kesa is typically only recited by those who have received a Rakusu or full Kesa, when first placing it on each day. There is more on Rakusu ritual here ...

              viewtopic.php?p=32375#p32375

              I do not include the Evening Gatha here, sometimes recited as ...

              Let me respectfully remind you,
              Life and death are of supreme importance.
              Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
              Each of us should strive to awaken.
              Awaken! Take heed!
              Do not squander your lives....
              although when I do, I sometimes play with the wording (depends on the day) ... something like this (just my own fooling around):

              No me or you for reminding,
              Life and death are dreams of no importance.
              Never passing by, not a thing can be lost.
              Awaken, there is nothing to strive for.
              Awakened!
              We cannot squander our lives
              We also have a recommended Meal Chant to be recited before each meal, especially emphasized during our Ango 100 Day Practice Period (which will be coming up again very soon) ...

              viewtopic.php?p=26468#p26468

              Here is the Chant I suggested ...

              viewtopic.php?p=27118#p27118

              I am not too big for Dharani, such as the "Dharani to Avert Disaster" (Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani), as I consider them mainly "hocus pocus" and silly. You can read a bit about that here ...

              viewtopic.php?p=35342#p35342

              viewtopic.php?p=35610#p35610

              Gassho (another kind of reminder of the Sacredness of this moment), Jundo
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Risho
                Member
                • May 2010
                • 3179

                #8
                Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                Thank you so much for the thorough explanation, as always :mrgreen:

                I like your rendition of the Evening Gatha, particularly the part about "nothing to strive for".

                Gassho (this is my first Gassho in treeleaf. lol),

                Cyril
                Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                Comment

                • Dokan
                  Friend of Treeleaf
                  • Dec 2010
                  • 1222

                  #9
                  Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                  Sorry to dig up an old-er thread but I had just finished Daido Roshi's book that Cyril referenced and wanted to ask a question or two. I have been trying to incorporate the liturgies into my daily practice and while I found the book somewhat useful, I was hoping to see if there was any further progress on the release of the Treeleaf Chant Book. Also, because I was curious what Jundo's opinion was of the book.

                  Traditionally, I have been a bit of a minimalist when practicing (zafu + zabuton + me). While this is partly due to my continued perspective that sitting is enough. I have found that the liturgy and environment have been a welcomed additional to my practice. I have taken some of the suggestions from the book and, with the help of my wife begun to build a small altar as well. I have found, like with the incorporation of the meditation bowl/bell, it helps shift my mind into a place that is ready to sit. This is my practice.

                  Out of curiosity, has anyone else moved from just sitting to incorporation of the liturgies & environments (read: altar)? What's your opinions on these. While I am not attached to the idea, and in fact have struggled with the guttural chanting at times (which is why I continue to do it). I ask because I have the mind that sitting is perfect in itself and the extras are just that...wondering if anyone has similar/differing opinions or perspectives?

                  Thank you,

                  Gassho,

                  Shawn
                  We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
                  ~Anaïs Nin

                  Comment

                  • Saijun
                    Member
                    • Jul 2010
                    • 667

                    #10
                    Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                    Originally posted by shards
                    Sorry to dig up an old-er thread but I had just finished Daido Roshi's book that Cyril referenced and wanted to ask a question or two. I have been trying to incorporate the liturgies into my daily practice and while I found the book somewhat useful, I was hoping to see if there was any further progress on the release of the Treeleaf Chant Book. Also, because I was curious what Jundo's opinion was of the book.

                    Traditionally, I have been a bit of a minimalist when practicing (zafu + zabuton + me). While this is partly due to my continued perspective that sitting is enough. I have found that the liturgy and environment have been a welcomed additional to my practice. I have taken some of the suggestions from the book and, with the help of my wife begun to build a small altar as well. I have found, like with the incorporation of the meditation bowl/bell, it helps shift my mind into a place that is ready to sit. This is my practice.

                    Out of curiosity, has anyone else moved from just sitting to incorporation of the liturgies & environments (read: altar)? What's your opinions on these. While I am not attached to the idea, and in fact have struggled with the guttural chanting at times (which is why I continue to do it). I ask because I have the mind that sitting is perfect in itself and the extras are just that...wondering if anyone has similar/differing opinions or perspectives?

                    Thank you,

                    Gassho,

                    Shawn
                    Hello Shawn,

                    I have an altar at both my sewing table and my sitting area. Being of an overly simple nature, I use them in much the same way that I use a mala--when it touches one of the senses, it brings me back to here, now.

                    As far as rites and rituals are concerned, I think it's like marriage--the act itself doesn't do anything but confirm what has already happened. Ritual, to me, communicates the importance of an event in a way that words cannot.

                    But with or without fancy things, it's still just this life, this practice, right now, no?

                    Metta,

                    Perry

                    P.S. One more thought -- Is there any special reason you chant gutturally? Every monk or priest I've been around outside the Gelug monks that live in my town chants in something close to their everyday voice. I'm just curious.
                    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

                    Comment

                    • Earthling
                      Member
                      • Oct 2010
                      • 39

                      #11
                      Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                      I've just recently ordered John Daido Loori's book myself (it should arrive next week). Being relatively new to practicing, I've just been winging it when it comes to the few improvised rituals I perform before and after sitting. Over the past few months, I've put together a small, somewhat minimalist altar and I do something that at least works for me...

                      On certain days I'll watch one of the sit-a-longs beforehand. 8) Before actually sitting, I put on a playlist of mp3 files (which is mostly silence!), beginning with a recording of Honshirabe, a short, simple piece performed on the shakuhachi, played softly. I then light a candle at the altar, but no incense until afterward (for practical reasons: it burns my eyes too much while sitting with my eyes half open!).

                      I then do a series of small bows. I first bow to the Buddha statue on the altar, then I bow in the direction of my cat (wherever he might be at the time), then I bow to a photo of my girlfriend (hanging on another wall), then I bow to my front door, then I bow to my zafu and finally one more bow to the Buddha statue before actually sitting.

                      By this time, the shakuhachi piece is almost complete, giving me just enough to to settle down. The next mp3 track is just a bell to begin sitting, and then a long silent track (I usually use the 20 minute silent track, at least for now). Then there is the ending bell, another shakuhachi track plays (Kyorei) while I light the incense from the candle flame. After that, I go through the exact same series of bows before sitting.

                      I also keep a very small bowl which I will put rainwater in, or rose petals, leaves-- which I place before the Buddha statue. This has its own significance to me as well.

                      I'm sure this is totally not how it is normally "done" ops: but it seems to work for me, which is I suppose what really counts. Its just what feels natural.

                      () josh
                      [i:2c6lh4g4]Not “Revelation”—‘tis—that waits,
                      But our unfurnished eyes—[/i:2c6lh4g4]
                      ~ Emily Dickinson

                      Comment

                      • Kaishin
                        Member
                        • Dec 2010
                        • 2322

                        #12
                        Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                        I have not incorporated an altar or much other ritual into my practice, but have considered doing so after reading Loori's book, among other things. I have always had an aversion to "idolatry," but I don't think I understood the significance of it before. When I would see people bowing, chanting, etc, it always struck me as blind worship. But now I see it--as Loori puts it--as making the invisible, visible.

                        I am also curious about this mysterious yet-to-be-released new Treeleaf chant book
                        Thanks,
                        Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
                        Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

                        Comment

                        • Geika
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Jan 2010
                          • 4980

                          #13
                          Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                          After having "been Wiccan" for some years, and then having tried out all sorts of other things, I am all "ritual-ed out!" I don't really hunger for that flair anymore.

                          It's not that I don't see the good in rituals. I understand the nature of puja. I still do a few things here and there that are of a very ritualistic nature, but essentially, I see most rituals to be empty unless they are physically something to do with the experience.
                          求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                          I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                          Comment

                          • Jinyu
                            Member
                            • May 2009
                            • 768

                            #14
                            Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                            Originally posted by Amelia
                            I see most rituals to be empty unless they are physically something to do with the experience.
                            Hi!

                            I'm a bit classic on this but, I have an altar since my adolescence.
                            I do take refuge everyday, just by bowing and reciting. I do chant at least once a day, at least the "kesa verse", usually I chant the Heart sutra and the "four vows" too and above all I bow! (most important ritual to me... with the kesa verse perhaps). It can seem very classic, but to be true I don't feel so. Comparing to Zen centers I know, I'm being very laxist and these ritual are very simple.

                            I don't do ritual for the pleasure of ritual.... I mean by this that it is all related with the sitting of zazen. It is like an organic way I need to sit zazen daily. Chanting, bowing, kesa sewing, kinhin, ... it is all a way to establish zazen in my daily life.

                            Of course, some days, I'm happy when I can chant the kesa verse and do 15minutes of zazen... but I try to give at least one hour a day on these practices that I see as just one.

                            gassho,
                            Jinyu
                            Jinyu aka Luis aka Silly guy from Brussels

                            Comment

                            • Geika
                              Treeleaf Unsui
                              • Jan 2010
                              • 4980

                              #15
                              Re: Liturgy as part of daily practice

                              Originally posted by Jinyu
                              Originally posted by Amelia
                              I see most rituals to be empty unless they are physically something to do with the experience.
                              I do chant at least once a day, at least the "kesa verse", usually I chant the Heart sutra and the "four vows" too and above all I bow! (most important ritual to me... with the kesa verse perhaps). It can seem very classic, but to be true I don't feel so.
                              I do mantra and chanting, as well, and I enjoy them. I can also perceive some benefit, because I keep going back to it.

                              Bowing whenever I take the time out of my day to cultivate some gratitude always feels natural and honest.
                              求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                              I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

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