Repentance and Taking Refuge for Life


Thich Nhat Hanh
Plum Village Chanting Book


With our whole life, we go for refuge to the ones with the highest awakening in the Ten Directions, to the deep and wonderful Dharma which has been propounded, and to the holy Sangha which realizes the four fruits and practices the three vehicles of liberation. Incompassion, please stretch out your arms to protect us. {Bell}

For a long time, we have gone against the stream of our true nature, floundering in the ocean of sorrows and the river of confusion, unable to see a way out or a path to our true home. Bobbing up and down on the waves, we have not been able to turn around. We have laid down the conditions for the formation of afflictions. Over so many lifetimes, we have committed actions that have hindered us. We have not been able to distinguish the straight path from the crooked.The fruit of our resentment and injustice has become heavy and deep. Now we sincerely bow our heads. As we lay open our hearts to begin anew, we rely on the Great Favor. {Bell}
With utmost sincerity, we call on the true hero, Descendant of the Sun to rescue us with all beings from the ocean of birth and death. We are determined to set out with good spiritual friends in order to leave behind the realm of our
afflictions and find the shore of liberation. In this lifetime, may we build our life of practice and heighten merit to solidify the foundations of practice in lives to come, so that our highest career may be cultivated until understanding and love spring up, fresh and lovely. May we always be born as humans. And may we meet the teachings and live a life of true practice. May we be guided on the path of practice by an enlightened teacher. Equipped with true faith, may we join an authentic Fourfold Sangha. May the six sense faculties and the Three Actions be in balance and harmony. May we not run after people of the world, causing us to be caught in bondage.
Wholeheartedly and diligently, may we practice the teachings of our loving Root Teacher, holding to brahmacharya and leaving behind all worldly actions. May we practice fine manners and right conduct until they shine brightly. With a heart of loving kindness, may we protect the life of even the smallest beings. May we always create sufficient wholesome causes and conditions so that countless misfortunes can dissipate like the morning mist. With one-pointed mind, may we make the aspiration to develop bodhicitta so that the Lotus Throne of the true
understanding of emptiness may manifest.
With our constant practice, may we witness the awakening to the highest truth and become capable of transmitting the True Mind. May we go beyond the cycle of drowning in the ocean of rebirth, developing the practice of the Six Paramitas in order to rescue beings. May we open practice centers in many places so that the net of doubt is destroyed and the person and the environment can be purified.
May we subdue all unwholesome spirits, transmitting the lamp of the Dharma and carrying on the lineage infinitely.
May we be happy to serve the Buddhas in the Ten Directions, not discouraged because of weariness or toil. However many deep and wonderful Dharma doors there are, may we realize them all to rescue ourselves, and then bring that merit and wisdom to rescue other beings, so that the fruit of Buddhahood is witnessed and the Dharmakaya is wholly realized.
May we adapt ourselves to circumstances in the ordinary world, realizing numberless bodies to rescue, little by little, all living beings.May the nectar of loving kindness rain on the realms of gods and men so that the ocean of actions and vows to rescue beings becomes vast. Everywhere, may the various regions of the world, whether near or far away, be in harmony. By proclaiming the wonderful Dharma doors may we rescue all beings, may the light of understanding shine forth from the wonderful Nirmanakaya, making wholesome the realms where animals, plants, and minerals suffer. May ten thousand species upon seeing our form and hearing our name be released from bondage and pain.
May we give rise to our deepest aspiration so that the suffering of Ten Thousand Realms will dissipate. However many wrong actions there are, leading to unspeakable injustice, however many sufferings there are in the animal realms, may they all, due to the power of fine manners and spirituality, vanish like the dew on the green mountain when dawn appears.
May we give medicines to the sick in urgent need.
May we give food and clothes to the destitute.
May so many benefits arise and prosper.
May peace and joy be realized right in the cycle of samsara.
May all beings regardless of race or belief, whether they are friends or enemies, have the same chance to cross over the ocean of afflictions.
May we leave behind unwholesome attachment forever, untying the knots which bind body and mind. May we cultivate the wholesome conditions for our highest career so that, together with numberless other species, we turn in the direction of the Dharmakaya. Even though the heavens should move, our vows will not be shaken for countless lifetimes. We pray that all beings that ever existed may wholly realize the career of Great Understanding and sit solidly at the foot ofthe Bodhi tree. {Bell, Bell}