PREPARING FOR MEDITATION

PREPARING FOR MEDITATION
Buddhist meditation is not merely a meditation. A meditation without the righteous aim and direction could bring harmful result. Buddhist meditation aims at tranquility, purity and radiance of the mid which will result in lessening of mental sufferings and bring peace and happiness to those who practice it.
Therefore when one comes to a meditation session, instead of engaging in meditation practice right away, one has to prepare one’s mind to be in the right direction first. In the meditation class at Wat Thai, at the beginning of the class before the actual meditation practice, we conduct what may be called a Preparation Stage. To non-Buddhists, this Preparation Stage may look like a ritual. It is not. Its purpose is to set the stage for the participant’s mind to have the right aim and direction.
The Preparation Stage consists of:
1. Paying Respect to Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (the Triple Gems or TI-RATANA). At the start of the meditation session, the leading participant will light candles and incense sticks. He and other participants then will recite words in PALI describing the qualities of the Triple Gems that we Buddhists respect. The qualities that we respect, in short, can be described as follows:
For Buddha: Wisdom, purity and loving kindness
For Dhamma: Truth and benefit experienced by followers
For Sangha: Righteous conduct, virtue and merit provider
Paying respect to those who deserve it is considered beneficial by the Buddhists. This is because while paying respect one subconsciously accepts those qualities one respects as models or ideals that one should follow or pursue.
For those who are not Buddhists, you do not have to join this part of procedure. While the participants recite those PALI words describing the quality of the Triple Gems, you may think of someone (your parents, teacher, benefactor, etc.) you respect greatly. Such thought will serve the same purpose.
2. Taking the Five Precepts. After paying respect to the Triple Gems, the meditators will request the Five Precepts from the monk-teacher. The leader and participants will face the monk-teacher and recite the request in PALI. The monk then will recite words (also in PALI) confirming the respect one has towards the Triple Gems, and the participants will repeat those words after him. The monk will then recite the Precepts singly and the participants will again repeat after him.
As in the case of Paying Respect to the Triple Gems, those who are not Buddhist do not have to join in the above activities. We do hope however that you participate in taking the Five Precepts in English. The Five Precepts (see page 6) are essentially pledges to avoid bad deeds. They are considered the basic code of conducts or morality which those who practice meditation should bear in mind. The Five Precepts are universal guidelines for every one’s conduct. They do not belong to any religion. These Precepts will help remind the meditator of the direction and aim he/she should follow and pursue.
3. Spreading METTA (Loving Kindness). This activity is considered an important part of Preparation Stage for meditation. The Buddhist meditation has definite objectives: to end sufferings, to uproot selfishness and to generate happiness. Spreading METTA will set the stage for pursuing such objectives.

Since the Spreading METTA can be practiced by any religion, it is hoped that every participant in the workshop will be able to participate in this activity. The leading participant will recite phrase by phrase and other participants will repeat after him. The recitation will be first in PALI and then in English translation. (See page 7).
After the Preparation Stage is completed, the meditation workshop participants are ready for the practice of meditation. The monk-teacher will explain the concept and method of meditation and will lead participants to meditate.
SHARING THE MERIT
Since the practicing of meditation is considered a meritorious action, therefore, at the end of every meditation session, the meditator would usually share the merit thus gained to all beings. The sharing the Meta recitation will be first in PALI and then in English translation (see page 8).

PALI RECITATION
I. PAYING RESPECT TO BUDDHA, DHAMMA, AND SANGHA (THE TRIPLE GEMS – TRI RATANA)

1. SALUTATION TO THE TRIPLE GEM

Arahaṁ sammā sambuddho bhagavā,
Buddhaṁ bhagavantaṁ abhivādemi.
(All bow.)

Svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo,
Dhammaṁ namassāmi.
(All bow.)

Supaṭipanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,
Saṅghaṁ namāmi.
(All bow.)
The Exalted One, Far from defilements, perfectly Enlightened by himself, I bow low before the Buddha, the Exalted One.
(All bow.)

The Dhamma well-expounded by Exalted One, I bow low before the Dhamma.
(All bow.)

The Sangha of disciples who have practiced well, I bow low before the Sangha.
(All bow.)

2. HOMAGE TO BUDDHA

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā
sambuddhassa.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā
sambuddhassa.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā
sambuddhassa.
Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the enlightened One.

Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the enlightened One.

Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the enlightened One.

3. PRAISE TO THE BUDDHA

Itipi so bhagavā arahaṁ sammāsambuddho,

Vijjācaraṇasampanno sugato lokavidū,

Anuttaro purisadammasārathi satthādeva-
manussānaṁ buddho bhagavāti.
(All bow.)

He is indeed the Exalted One, far from defilements, perfectly Enlightened by himself,

Fully possessed of wisdom and (excellent) conduct, One who has proceed-ed by the good way, knower of worlds,

Inexcelled Trainer of tamable men, Teacher of deities and men, the awakened One, the Lord skilled in teaching Dhamma.
(All bow.)

4. PRAISE TO THE DHAMA

Svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo,
Sandiṭṭhiko akāliko
Ehipassiko, opanayiko paccattaṁ veditabbo viññūhiti
(All bow.)

Well-expounded is the Exalted One’s Dhamma,
To be seen here-and-now, not delayed in time,
(Inviting one to) come-and-see, leading inward, to be seen by each wise man for himself
(All bow.)

5. PRAISE TO THE SANGHA

Supaṭipanno Bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,

Ujupaṭipanno Bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,

Ñāyapaṭipanno Bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,

Sāmī cipaṭipanno Bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,

Yadidaṁ cattāri purisayugāni aṭṭha purisapuggalā,

Esa Bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,

Āhuneyyo pāhuneyyo dakkhiṇeyyo

Añjalīkaraṇīyo anuttaraṁ puññakkhettaṁ lokassāti.
(All bow.)
The Sangha of the Exalted One’s disciples who have practiced well,

The Sangha of the Exalted One’s disciples who have practiced straightly,

The Sangha of the Exalted One’s disciples who have practiced rightly,

The Sangha of the Exalted One’s disciples who have practiced properly;

That is to say the four pairs of men, the eight individual persons,

That is the Sangha of the Exalted One’s disciples,

Worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings,

Who should be respected; who are the world’s incomparable field for merit (cultivation).
(All bow.)

II. TAKING THE FIVE PRECEPTS

1. ASKING FOR THE FIVE PRECEPTSS

Mayaṁ bhante visuṁ visuṁ rakkhanatthāya tisaraṇena saha Pañca Sīlāni Yācāma.

Dutiyampi Mayaṁ bhante visuṁ visuṁ rakkhaṇatthāya tisaraṇena saha Pañca Sīlāni yācāma.

Tatiyampi mayaṁ bhante visuṁ visuṁ rakkhaṇatthāya tisaraṇena saha Pañca Sīlāni yācāma.
May we, O Venerable One, observe the Five Precepts separately together with the Three Refuges.

For the second time, may we O Venerable One, observe the Five Precepts separately together with the Three Refuges.

For the third time, may we O Venerable One, observe the five Precepts separately together with the Three Refuges.

2. SALUTATION TO THE BUDDHA
(Monk leads; laity follow.)

Namo Tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa.

Namo Tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa.

Namo Tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa.
Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Enlightened One.

Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Enlightened One.

Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Enlightened One.

3. THE THREE REFUGES (TISARANA)
(Monk leads; laity follow line by line.)

Buddhaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Dhammaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Saṅghaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Dutiyampi Buddhaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Dutiyampi Dhammaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Dutiyampi Saṅghaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Tatiyampi Buddhaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Tatiyampi Dhammaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.
To the Buddha I go for Refuge.

To the Dhamma I go for Refuge.

To the Sangha I go for Refuge.

For the second time, to the Buddha I go for Refuge.

For the second time, to the Dhamma I go for Refuge.

For the second time, to the Sangha I go for Refuge.

For the third time, to the Buddha I go for Refuge.

For the third time, to the Dhamma I go for Refuge.
Tatiyampi Saṅghaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi.

Monk: Tisaraṇagamanaṁ niṭṭhitaṁ

Laity: Āma bhante.
For the third time, to the Sangha I go for Refuge.

Monk: Taking the three refuges has ended.

Laity: Yes, Venerable One.

4. OSERVANCE OF THE FIVE PRECEPTS (PANCA SILA)
(Monk leads; laity follow line by line.)

Pāṇātipata veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṁ
samādiyami.

Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṁ samādiyāmi.

Kāmesu-micchācārā veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṁ samādiyāmi.

Musāvādā veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṁ samādiyāmi.

Surā-meraya-majja-pamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṁ samādiyāmi.

Monk: Imāni pañca sikkhāpadāni, Sīlena sugatiṁ yanti, Sīlena bhogasampadā, Sīlena nibbutiṁ yanti, Tasmā sīlaṁ visodhaye.

I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

I undertake the precept to refrain from taking what is not given.

I undertake the precept to refrain from illicit sexual activities.

I undertake the precept to refrain from false speech.

I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating liquors and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Monk: these are five rules for self-training. Moral conduct leads to goodness; moral conduct leads to deserved wealth; moral conduct leads to extinction of defilements. So, let us purify our conduct.

III. SPREADING LOVING KINDNESS (METTA)

1. LOVING KINDNESS (METTA)

Sabbe sattā averā hontu

Abyāpajjā hontu

Anighā hontu

Sukhī attnaṁ pariharantu
May all beings be free of enmity against one another;

May they refrain from hurting one another;

May they be free from troubles of mind and body;

May they have their own happiness protected.

2. COMPASSION (KARUNA)

Sabbe sattā dukkha pamuccantu.
May all beings be freed from suffering.

3. SYMPATHETIC JOY (Mudita)

Sabbe sattāma laddhasampattito vigachantu.
May all beings not be parted from the good that they have gained.

4. EQUANIMITY (UPEKKHA)

Sabbe sattā kammassaka

Kammadāyādā

Kammayoni

Kammabhandhu

Kammapatisarana

Yaṁ kammaṁ karissanti Kalyānaṁ vā papakaṁ vā tassa dāyādā bhavisanti.

All beings are the owners of their kamma;

Heir to their kamma;

Born of their kamma;

Related to their kamma;

And Supported by their kamma.

Whatever kamma they will do, for good or for evil, of that they will be heirs.

IV. SHARING THE MERIT

Ida me puññaṁ, āsāvakkhayāvāhaṁ hotu

Idaṁ me puññaṁ, nibānassa paayo hotu

Idaṁ me, yātinaṁ hotu, sukita hontu yāayo

Idaṁ me, puññabāgaṁ, subba sattānaṁ demi.

May the merit that we all have now gained free us from the chain of bad thoughts and deeds.

May the merit that we all have now gained be the foundation of our deliverance from suffering.

May the merit that we all have now gained bring happiness to our parents and relatives.

May the merit that we all have now gained be shared by all beings.

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