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Turning to The Tathagata

Plum Village Chanting Book

I touch the Earth deeply, turning to the Tathagata,

The lighthouse that shines over the ocean of dust and suffering.

Lord of Compassion, embrace us with your love,

for today we are determined to return to our true home. [Bell]

 

We, your spiritual children, still owe so much gratitude

to our parents, teachers, friends, and all other beings.

Looking over the Three Realms and across the Four Quarters,

We see all species drowning in an ocean of misfortune.

It wakes us with a start.

Although we have turned in the right direction,

the shore of awakening still lies very far away.

Fortunately, we see the hands of the Compassionate One

bringing relief to every corner of the world. [Bell]

 

With one-pointed mind, we return, taking refuge.

We aspire to be the spiritual children of the Tathagata.

We unify our body and mind before the Buddha's throne,

releasing all attachment and negativity.

With great respect, we now aspire to receive the wonderful teachings.

We shall always practice diligently and carefully,

our mindfulness trainings and concentration nourished to maturity,

for the fruit of understanding to be ripened in the future.

We ask the Bodhisattvas to protect us day and night.

May the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha show us their compassion. [Bell]

 

We know that the fruits of our past actions are still heavy,

that the merit from our virtues is still frail,

that we are often full of wrong perceptions,

that our capacity to understand is poor,

that the impurities of our mind still arise very easily,

that our practices of listening and contemplation are not firm.

In this moment we entrust ourselves to the Lotus Throne,

and, with our five limbs resting gently on the Earth, we now pray.

Infinite loving kindness, please expand and envelop us

so that we too may open our hearts. [Bell]

 

We, your spiritual children for countless past lives, have chased after worldly things,

unable to recognize the clear, pure basis of our True Mind.

Our actions of body, speech, and mind have been unwholesome.

We have drowned in ignorant cravings, jealousy, hatred, and anger.

But now the sound of the great bell has caused us to awaken

with a heart that is determined to renew our body and our mind.

Please help us completely remove the red dust of all

Wrong doings, mistakes, and faults. [Bell]

 

We, your spiritual children in this moment,

make the vow to leave all our habit energies behind,

and for the whole of our life to go for refuge to the Sangha.

Awakened One, please place your hand over us in protection,

so that loving kindness and compassion will guide and assist us.

 

We promise that when we practice meditation,

when we take part in Dharma discussion,

when we stand, walk, lie, or sit,

when we cook, wash, work, or play,

when we recite the names of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,

when we offer incense or when we touch the Earth,

every step will bring peace and joy to the world,

every smile will be resplendent with freedom.

 

We will live mindfully in each and every moment

to demonstrate the way of liberation from suffering.

We vow to touch the Pure Land with every step.

We promise in every contact to be in touch with the ultimate dimension,

taking steps on the soil of reality, breathing the air of true emptiness,

lighting up wisdom to make resplendent the wonderful True Mind,

drawing aside the dark curtain of ignorance,

with our body and mind peaceful and happy,

free and at leisure until the moment when we leave this life,

our heart with no regrets, our body without pain,

our thoughts unclouded by ignorance,

our mindfulness clear and bright, and our six senses calm

as when entering meditative concentration. [Bell]

 

If necessary to be reborn, we will always do so

as the spiritual children of the Tathagata.

We will continue in the work of helping other beings,

bringing them all over to the shore of awakening.

Realizing the Three Bodies and the Four Wisdoms,

using the Five Eyes and the Six Miracles,

manifesting thousands of appropriate forms,

being present at the same time in all the Three Worlds,

coming in and going out in freedom and with ease,

we will not abandon anyone, helping all beings to transform,

bringing all to the shore of no regression. [Bell]

 

Space is without limit. There are infinite living beings,

and the same is true with afflictions and results of past actions.

We pray that our aspirations will also become infinite.

We bow to the Awakened One as we make this vow.

We will maintain virtue, sharing the merit with countless others

in order to fully repay the gratitude that we owe

and to teach the practice everywhere within the Three Realms.

May we, alongside all species of living beings,

fully realize the Great Awakened Understanding. [Bell, Bell]