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Bhavana Mealtime Practice

#Bhavana #Society dining hall shrineBefore both the breakfast and mid-day meals begin, you may fix your beverage and enter the dining hall. Before you take your seat, you are invited to salute the Triple Gem and your own Buddha nature by bowing three times to the Buddha image. (This in not required.) The cook will ring the bell to announce that the meal is ready. The monastics go to the kitchen, receive their food and return to their places.

If you enter the dining room after this procession has already begun, please do not cross the path of the monastics as they go to or from the kitchen. If possible, try to take your seat before they go to receive their food.

When the monastics have returned to their places, they recite in Pali the Reflection on the Requisites (given in English below). In the dining hall at Bhavana copies in both Pali and English are distributed on the dining benches so you can following along silently as the monastics recite (as well as copies of these instructions).

At lunchtime the English version of the Loving Friendliness Discourse is recited after the Pali recitation. All are invited to join in reciting it out loud.

Laypersons then enter the kitchen through the left-rear door of the hall to receive their meal; and return to their seats through the kitchen dish-room and the right-rear door of the hall. Please note: Laypersons enter the kitchen one row at a time, starting with the side rows. (If there are no side rows, the row closest to the alter goes first.)

When you have finished your meal, please re-enter the kitchen through the left-rear door of the hall. Kindly scrape all leftover food into the compost bucket (if provided) or along with discarded paper napkins into the trashcan. Leave your dishes in the tub of soapy water provided. If you did not do so upon arrival at Bhavana, please label your cup with your first name and last initial to be used and cleaned by you throughout your stay at Bhavana. Thanks!


REFLECTION ON THE REQUISITES (Recited in Pali at both meals by the monastics. Others may follow along in silence.):

I partake this food with mindful reflection, not for enjoyment, nor for intoxication, nor out of gluttony, nor to become attractive, but only for the continuation and the nourishment of this body, for keeping it unharmed, for helping the brahmachariya life, reflecting “I shall destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not produce new feelings [of overeating]". Thus there will be freedom from physical discomfort and living at ease.

Just as this almsfood is dependent upon and made up of mere elements, the individual that uses it also is not a permanent being, nor a permanent life, void of self, and made up of mere elements.  All this almsfood is pleasant as it is, but when it is used by this body it becomes extremely unpleasant.

Image of hands together in homage

  (Place hands together in a gesture of homage.)


     May all calamity be warded off.
     May all illness be dispelled.
     May no obstacles hinder you.
     May you live happily.

     One who shows respect
     To those who deserve it
     Has a long and pleasant life,
     Happiness and strength.

     May all good fortune come your way.
     May all the deities protect you.
     By the power of the Buddha
     By the power of the Dhamma
     By the power of the Sangha
     May you forever be well.


BUDDHA PUJA (Recited in Pali at lunchtime by the monastics when families bring Dana to the monastery. The monastic leader administers the Three Refuges, the Five Precepts, followed by this recitation. Here it is in English. When at Bhavana you may follow along in silence.):

Homage to the Sublime One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One (3 times)

I announce to the Tathagata,
The Fully Enlightened Buddha, the great sage,
Who is free from attachment,
I invite the Well-Gone One, the One full of wisdom.

With candle lights dispelling dark
I venerate the perfect Buddha,
The light of the triple world,
Who dispels the darkness of delusion.

With this incense sweetly scented,
Made from fragrant substances,
I venerate the one worthy of reverence,
The supreme recipient of offerings.

This cluster of flowers,
Beautiful, fragrant, and excellent,
I offer at the holy lotus feet
Of the noble Lord of Sages.

With these flowers I venerate the Buddha;
By this merit may I gain liberation.
As these flowers fade and wither
So will this body be destroyed.

Please Venerable Sir,
Out of compassion for us
Accept our food offered to you,
O Noble One!

Please Venerable Sir,
Out of compassion for us
Accept our beverages offered to you,
O Noble One!

Please Venerable Sir,
Out of compassion for us
Accept all offered with faith,
O Noble One!

May all beings inhabiting space and earth,
Devas and nagas of mighty power,
Share this merit of ours;
     May they long protect the Dispensation;
     May they long protect the Teachings;
     May they long protect me and others.

     May all deities share this merit;
     May all invisible beings share this merit;
     May all beings share this merit;
Which we have thus acquired
For the acquisition of all kinds of happiness.

If, due to negligence, I have done some wrong
By body, speech or mind,
Forgive me of that offense, O Bhante,
Perfect One of vast wisdom;
     Forgive me of that offense, O Dhamma,
     Visible and unaffected by time;
Forgive me of that offense, O Sangha,
Practicing well and supreme.

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!


LOVING FRIENDLINESS DISCOURSE (Recited in English at lunchtime by all):

May all being be happy and secure!
May all beings have happy minds!

Whatever living being there may be,
Without exception: weak or strong
Long, large, medium, short;
Subtle or gross;

Visible or invisible;
Living near or far;
Born or coming to birth
May all beings have happy minds!

Let no one deceive another
Nor despise anyone anywhere
Neither from anger nor ill will
Should anyone wish harm to another.

As a mother would risk her own life
To protect her only child,
Even so towards all living beings
One should cultivate boundless heart

One should cultivate for all the world
A heart of boundless loving friendliness,
Above, below, and all around,
Unobstructed, without hatred or resentment.

Whether standing, walking or sitting,
Lying down or whenever awake,
One should develop this mindfulness.
This is called divinely dwelling here.

Not falling into erroneous views
But virtuous and endowed with vision.
Removing desire for sensual pleasures,
One comes never again to birth in the womb.

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