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Ceremony to Transmit

the FOURTEEN MINDFULNESS TRAININGS

OF THE ORDER OF INTERBEING

REVISED VERSION AS OF AUGUST 2013

 

All aspirants requesting to receive Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings are seated in the central aisle of the hall facing the altar, with their Representative seated at the head of the group. The Representative may be a lay member of the Order of Interbeing, or one of the aspirants. The rest of the community is seated on either side, in rows, by age of ordination.

1. (Sitting Meditation) (12 minutes, preceded by instruction)

2. (Incense Offering)

3. (Touching of the Earth)

4. (Sutra Opening Verse)

5. (The Heart of Perfect Understanding)

6. (Formal Request)

The Aspirants' Representative (with palms joined):

Namo Sakyamunaye Buddhaya.

Dear Respected Teacher, dear Noble Sangha, please listen to us with compassion. We would like to make a formal request.

(At the sound of the bell, the Representative and all the aspirants Touch the Earth one time. They then kneel with palms joined.)

The Aspirants' Representative makes the request in the name of all the aspirants:

Namo Sakyamunaye Buddhaya.

Dear Respected Teacher, dear Noble Sangha, we recognize that we're very fortunate. We have received a lot of merit from our blood ancestors and spiritual ancestors and, thanks to this, we have had the chance to receive and practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings. The path of practice of the Trainings has helped our love and understanding to grow, bringing transformation, healing and joy to ourselves and those around us. We have understood how valuable it is on this path to have a Sangha. Without the Sangha, how could we have been able to continue this beautiful practice in our daily life? If we flow with our Sangha as a river, we know we can reach the ocean of liberation. We would like to embrace the Sangha's career as our own. In the past year, we have come together once a month to study the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. We have participated regularly in mindfulness days and retreats organized by our local Sangha or Plum Village. Today, with all our heart, we aspire to receive the Fourteen Precious Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. We understand clearly that following this path we are in the company of bodhisattvas, and that every moment can be a moment of happiness. With our local Sangha’s support, we humbly ask our dear spiritual ancestors and Noble Sangha to accept our request, and to transmit to us the Fourteen Trainings of the Order of Interbeing.

The Transmission Master replies:

We are happy to accept your request. You are very fortunate to have discovered such a wonderful path and to have the opportunity to commit yourselves to it. Your most beautiful task is to build a Sangha that can be a place of refuge for many people. This is what the Buddha did his whole life. Following this path you continue the Buddha's career. The Buddha and all the bodhisattvas will support you.

The Aspirants' Representative offers thanks:

We thank you dear Respected Teacher and dear Noble Sangha for accepting our request. We will follow your precious advice with all our heart.

(At the sound of the bell, the Representative and all the aspirants Touch the Earth twice more. If the Representative is not one of the aspirants, he or she then returns to his place. All the aspirants remain in the centre of the hall, and the ceremony begins.)

7. (Sanghakarman Procedure)

Sanghakarman Master:

-        Has the entire community assembled?

Sangha convenor:

-        The entire community has assembled.

Sanghakarman Master:

-        Is there harmony in the community?

Sangha convenor:

-        Yes, there is harmony.

Sanghakarman Master:

-        What is the reason for the community assembling today?

Sangha convenor:

-        The community has assembled to perform the sanghakarman of transmitting the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing.

Sanghakarman Master:

-        Noble community of Interbeing, please listen. Today, [the date], has been chosen as the day to transmit the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. The community has assembled at the appointed time and is ready to transmit and receive the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings in an atmosphere of harmony. Thus, the transmission can proceed. Such is the proposal. Is the proposal clear and complete?

(Everyone: Clear and complete. Bell)

8. (Bowing Deeply in Gratitude)

Dear ordinees, stand up and on hearing the sound of the bell, after the recitation of each line, please touch the Earth one time.

9. (Introductory Words)

          Today the community has gathered to give spiritual support to our brothers and sisters who will undertake to receive and observe the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing and enter the core community of the Order of Interbeing.

          Dear ordinees, please listen. Following in the steps of the bodhisattvas as your teachers and companions on the path, you have made the aspiration to receive and observe the mindfulness trainings of the Order of Interbeing. You have given rise to the seed of bodhicitta, the mind of love. You have made the aspiration to develop this seed. Your own awakening and liberation, as well as the liberation and awakening of all other species, have now become your highest career. Brothers and sisters in the community, let us establish our mindfulness by enjoying our breathing, so that we may be truly present and give support to the seed of bodhicitta, the mind of love in the ordinees. With our support, they will develop this seed solidly and courageously so that it will become indestructible.

          This is a solemn moment for receiving the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. Listen carefully, with a clear and concentrated mind, to each mindfulness training as it is read, and answer, ‘Yes, I do’ clearly every time you see that you have the intention and capacity to receive, study, and practice the mindfulness training that has been read.

Dear ordinees, are you ready?

Ordinees: Yes, I am ready.

          These then are the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing.

10. (Transmission of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings)

The First Mindfulness Training: Openness

          Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. We are committed to seeing the Buddhist teachings as guiding means that help us develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for. We understand that fanaticism in its many forms is the result of perceiving things in a dualistic and discriminative manner. We will train ourselves to look at everything with openness and the insight of interbeing in order to transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and in the world.

          This is the First Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Second Mindfulness Training: Non-Attachment to Views

          Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment to views and being open to others’ experiences and insights in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

          This is the Second Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it?(‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought

          Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are determined not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever -- such as authority, threat, money, propaganda, or indoctrination -- to adopt our views. We are committed to respecting the right of others to be different, to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, learn to help others let go of and transform narrowness through loving speech and compassionate dialogue.

          This is the Third Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Taking Care of Suffering

          Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help us develop understanding and compassion, we are determined to come home to ourselves, to recognize, accept, embrace and listen to our own suffering with the energy of mindfulness. We will do our best not to run away from our suffering or cover it up through consumption, but practice conscious breathing and walking to look deeply into the roots of our suffering. We know we can realize the path leading to the transformation of suffering only when we understand deeply the roots of suffering. Once we have understood our own suffering, we will be able to understand the suffering of others. We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact and using telephone, electronic, audiovisual, and other means, to be with those who suffer, so we can help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace, and joy.

          This is the Fourth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Compassionate, Healthy Living

          Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom, and compassion, we are determined not to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying nor to take as the aim of our life fame, power, wealth, or sensual pleasure, which can bring much suffering and despair. We will practice looking deeply into how we nourish our body and mind with the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. We are committed not to gamble or to use alcohol, drugs or any other products which bring toxins into our own and the collective body and consciousness such as certain websites, electronic games, music, TV programs, films, magazines, books, andconversations. We will consume in a way that preserves compassion, peace, joy, and good health in our bodies and consciousness and in the collective body and consciousness of our families, our society, and the earth.

          This is the Fifth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Sixth Mindfulness Training: Taking Care of Anger

          Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are committed to taking care of the energy of anger when it arises, recognizing and transforming the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger manifests, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking to acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We know that the roots of anger are not outside of ourselves but can be found in our wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in ourselves and others. By contemplating impermanence, we will be able to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and at those we think are the cause of our anger, and to recognize the preciousness of our relationships. We will practice Right Diligence in order to nourish our capacity of understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, gradually transforming our anger, violence and fear, and helping others do the same.

This is the Sixth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Seventh Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment

          Aware that life is available only in the present moment, we are committed to training ourselves to live deeply each moment of daily life. We will try not to lose ourselves in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or craving, anger, or jealousy in the present. We will practice mindful breathing to be aware of what is happening in the here and the now. We are determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are inside and around us, in all situations. In this way, we will be able to cultivate seeds of joy, peace, love, and understanding in ourselves, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in our consciousness. We are aware that true happiness depends primarily on our mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that we can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that we already have more than enough conditions to be happy.

          This is the Seventh Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Eighth Mindfulness Training: True Community and Communication

          Aware that lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, we are committed to training ourselves in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. Knowing that true community is rooted in inclusiveness and in the concrete practice of the harmony of views, thinking and speech, we will practice to share our understanding and experiences with members in our community in order to arrive at a collective insight.

          We are determined to learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. Whenever difficulties arise, we will remain in our Sangha and practice looking deeply into ourselves and others to recognize all the causes and conditions, including our own habit energies, that have brought about the difficulties. We will take responsibility for the ways we may have contributed to the conflict and keep communication open. We will not behave as a victim but be active in finding ways to reconcile and resolve all conflicts however small.

          This is the Eighth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech

          Aware that words can create happiness or suffering, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully, lovingly and constructively. We will use only words that inspire joy, confidence and hope as well as promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among other people. We will speak and listen in a way that can help ourselves and others to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will protect the happiness and harmony of our Sangha by refraining from speaking about the faults of other persons in their absence and always ask ourselves whether our perceptions are correct. We will speak only with the intention to understand and help transform the situation. We will not spread rumors nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may make difficulties for us or threaten our safety.

          This is the Ninth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Tenth Mindfulness Training: Protecting and Nourishing the Sangha

          Aware that the essence and aim of a Sangha is the realization of understanding and compassion, we are determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal power or profit, or transform our community into a political instrument. As members of a spiritual community, we should nonetheless take a clear stand against oppression and injustice. We should strive to change the situation, without taking sides in a conflict. We are committed to learning to look with the eyes of interbeing and to see ourselves and others as cells in one Sangha body. As a true cell in the Sangha body, generating mindfulness, concentration and insight to nourish ourselves and the whole community, each of us is at the same time a cell in the Buddha body. We will actively build brotherhood and sisterhood, flow as a river, and practice to develop the three real powers – understanding, love and cutting through afflictions -- to realize collective awakening.

          This is the Tenth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Eleventh Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood

          Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that contributes to the wellbeing of all species on earth and helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of economic, political, and social realities around the world, as well as our interrelationship with the ecosystem, we are determined to behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens. We will not invest in or purchase from companies that contribute to the depletion of natural resources, harm the earth, or deprive others of their chance to live.

          This is the Eleventh Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it?(‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Twelfth Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life

          Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, compassion, and the insight of interbeing in our daily lives and promote peace education, mindful mediation, and reconciliation within families, communities, ethnic and religious groups, nations, and in the world. We are committed not to kill and not to let others kill. We will not support any act of killing in the world, in our thinking, or in our way of life. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life, prevent war, and build peace.

          This is the Twelfth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity

          Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, we are committed to cultivating generosity in our way of thinking, speaking, and acting. We will practice loving kindness in working for the happiness of people, animals, plants, and minerals, and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

          This is the Thirteenth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

The Fourteenth Mindfulness Training: True Love

[For lay members]: Aware that sexual desire is not love and that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a deep long-term commitment made known to our family and friends. Seeing that body and mind are one, we are committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of our sexual energy and to cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness for our own happiness and the happiness of others. We must be aware of future suffering that may be caused by sexual relations. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with compassion and respect. We are determined to look deeply into the Four Nutriments and learn ways to preserve and channel our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate regularly upon their future environment.

[For monastic members]: Aware that the deep aspiration of a monk or a nun can only be realized when he or she wholly leaves behind the bonds of sensual love, we are committed to practicing chastity and to helping others protect themselves. We are aware that loneliness and suffering cannot be alleviated through a sexual relationship, but through practicing loving kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness. We know that a sexual relationship will destroy our monastic life, will prevent us from realizing our ideal of serving living beings, and harm others. We will learn appropriate ways to take care of our sexual energy. We are determined not to suppress or mistreat our body, or look upon our body as only an instrument, but will learn to handle our body with compassion and respect. We willlook deeply into the Four Nutriments in order to preserve and channel our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal.

          This is the Fourteenth Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing. Do you make the commitment to receive, study and practice it? (‘Yes, I do’, bell)

11. (Concluding Words)

Brothers and sisters, you have received the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. You have taken the first step on the path of the bodhisattvas: the path of great understanding of bodhisattva Manjusri that puts an end to countless wrong perceptions, prejudice and discrimination; the path of great compassion of bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who loves, values, and protects the life of all species and listens deeply to the cries of all species far and near in order to help them; the path of great action of bodhisattva Samantabhadra, who takes every opportunity to create love, understanding and harmony in the world.

Brothers and sisters, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas will be with you on your path of practice. When you hear the sound of the bell, please stand up and bow deeply three times to show your gratitude to the Three Jewels.

12. (Transmission of Certificate of Ordination)

13. (Closing Verse)