▶ The Need for Daily Buddhist Devotions
With the growing interest in the Buddha, Dhamma in recent years there is an increasing need for a manual of Buddhist texts that could be used to introduce newcomers to the basic tenets of Buddhism and the traditional Buddhist practices expressing reverence and devotion to the Blessed One.
This small manual shows how homage to the Triple Gem -the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha -can be performed. It is hoped that this manual will be of much general use. It can be used to guide parents in the responsible task of leading their children along the correct spiritual path.
Every Buddhist should learn to recite at least a few verses or stanzas from this manual when he or she visits the temple, kneels before the home altar, or when in need of spiritual solace. Many Buddhists feel lost at what to do or recite when they attend a religious function. Although they say they are Buddhists, they often find Buddhist customs and practices strange. They have kept themselves away from Buddhism in preference for the materialistic way of life.
The main cause of delinquency is parental neglect. With this manual in their hands, parents can no longer blame the lack of suitable devotional material to teach their children properly.
On many occasions when a couple visits the temple, the husband or wife enters the shrine alone to pay homage to the Buddha while the other spouse stands outside the shrine as if he or she belongs to another religion. But when asked, it is found that both in fact profess the same religion. This clearly shows that they were not trained properly in their religious practices by their parents when they were young.
Such an attitude should be changed. Parents must learn the value of religious instruction to train their children to live as good Buddhists and to perform their religious duties and obligations. The lack of religious training and understanding account for the reluctance to enter or even embarrassment some people might have upon entering the shrine room.
Some only remember the Buddha and the temple when they are stricken with illness or when they are in trouble; very often as a last resort. Such should not be the attitude of Buddhists. Those who remember the Buddha daily will receive blessings for protection and will gain more self-confidence in their day-to-day activities in leading a peaceful life. Buddhism is not a mere philosophy or psychology for people to talk about. The devotional aspect of Buddhism is important for one to gain spiritual solace.
In Buddhist countries there are many facilities available such as temples, monasteries, Dhamma classes for children, Buddhist schools and numerous Buddhist publications. This manual of Buddhist devotions is offered as a door to the commodious mansion of Buddhism with many chambers of culture, civilization and the arts as well as a vast storehouse of spiritual truth. The door is necessary but doors alone serve no purpose. It is only when we realise and practise the great truths that lie beyond those doors that we can benefit from the Buddha’s Teachings.
To practising Buddhists, this manual provides the daily guide for practice that leads to purification at three levels: Sila, purification of conduct through right speech and action; Samadhi, purifi-cation of mind through meditation; and Parana, purification of understanding through insight.
This small manual contains verses in homage to the Triple Gem to develop faith and devotion, as well as strengthen our commitment towards good conduct to develop a pure mind. It also contains Paritta verses which could be recited to ward off evil forces and to overcome them through positive mental action. In addition, the verses in this manual could be recited for meditation and the cultivation of insight of the true nature of existence.
▶ Why Take Refuge in the Buddha
Those who believe in God would pray to him for help and protection when they experience fear, sorrow or disturbances. Many Buddhists ask whom could they turn to when confronted with the thoughts of fear, insecurity and helplessness. Under such circumstances, we can turn our minds to the Buddha and seek solace through him.
When Buddhists visualize the supreme qualities of the Buddha, His great victories serenity and sacredness, and His calm demeanour, their minds will be calmed and their confidence will grow. It is through calming their minds and focusing on this power that they are in a position to understand the nature of the disturbances and find the means to overcome their worldly suffering. Even in many religions, God is not regarded as a person, but a force which is personified in the mind. By praying, their minds undergo the same process and the answer to their problem will become evident, as if by a miracle.
Many of our problems are caused by the mind itself. Therefore, the mind alone is able to solve them through proper understanding. When the mind is properly settled by constantly thinking of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, it can help us to overcome our sense of helplessness, fear of evil spirits, and loneliness. As a result, self-confidence is restored. This, in short, is what is meant by taking ‘refuge’ in the Buddha.
III The Pali Alphabet / Pronunciation of Letters
IX Introduction The Need for Daily Buddhist Devotions
XVII The Value of Paritta Suttas
⌘ Paying Homage
23 Vandana/Salutation to the Buddha
25 Ti-Sarana/ Taking the Three Refuges
37 Tiratana Vandana /Verses for Paying Homage to the Tripe Gem, Buddha,Dhamma and Sangha
40 Nava Guna Gatha/ Nine Great Virtues of the Buddha.
47 Atthavisati Buddha Vandami/Salutation to the Twenty-Eight Buddhas
53 Bodhi Vandana /Salutation to the Bodhi Tree
65 Cetiya Vandana/ Salutation to the Three Main Objects of Veneration Precepts
29 Panca Sila / The Five Precepts
33 Atthanga Sila / The Eight Precepts
57′ Puja / Offerings of Light, Flowers, Food, Medicinal Drinks and Perfumed Smoke
⌘ Transference of Merits
68 To make Devas Participate in Merits
69 Transference of Merits to the Departed
71 Patthana /Aspiration or Wish
75 Khamatha me Bhante/Forgiveness of Short-comings
⌘ Invitation to Devas
87 Aradhana /Invitation to Devas
⌘ Recital of Suttas for Various Kinds of Blessing
79 Jaya Mangala Gatha/Stanzas of victory Recital for Blessings and Prosperity on significant occasions
93 Mangan Sutta / Discourse on Blessings Recital for Blessings on auspicious occasions
101 Ratana Sutta / Discourse on The Jewels Recitals to avert Evil Forces
127 Metta Sutta/Discourse on Loving-kindness (Goodwill) Recital to radiate boundless Loving-kindness to relieve others’ suffering
133 Maha Jaya Mangala Gatha/ Stanzas of Great Victory Recital for Blessings and Protection
139 Jinapanjara / The Buddha’s Mansion Recital” to overcome Sickness and Disturbances
149 Jaya Paritta/Recital for Invoking Victory
157 Angulimala Paritta/ Recital to Bless Expectant Mothers for Easy Childbirth
113 Morning Recitals in Place of Prayer
116 A short Recital in Place of Prayer for Blessing and protection at Any Time
120 Morning Recitals
123 Evening Recitals
⌘ Recitals for Reflection on the Occasion of funeral & Meditation at Any Time
161 Buddhanussati/Meditation on the Buddha Recital for Self-composure suitable for meditation at any time
167 Mettanussati/Meditation on loving-kindness
173 Marananussati/Meditation on Death
177 Asubhanussati/Meditation on the Loathsomeness of the Body
181 Salla Sutta/The Shaft of Grief
⌘ How to remember the Departed
189 Tirokudda Sutta /Departed Ones in Spirit Form Recital to Transfer Merits to Departed Ones
195 Tilakkhana/Meditation on the Three Characteristics
197 Piyehi Vippayogo/Reflection on the Loss of Loved Ones
201 Jivitam Aniyatam, Maranam Niyatam/Life is uncertain,Death is certain, Impermanency of Life Recital for during Funerals
205 Attha Maha Sanvega Vatthu/Recollection of Eight Sorrowful Stages of Life
⌘ Sharing of Merits
209 Punnanumodana / Sharing of Merits with Others
⌘ Taking Refuges
221 Saranatta-Mupemi/Verses for Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem Racital at the end of Religious Functions
215 Narasiha Gatha/ Lion of Men Princess Yasodhara’s pointing out of the Unique Physical Characteristics of the Buddha to her Son, Rahula who met Him for the first time
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