Gathas

GATHAS:

Gathas are short poetic chants which are memorized and recited during daily activities by monks and laypeople.   They focus the mind and remind us that our practice is paying attention to *everything*.

Gathas for Coming and Going

When Leaving a Place

Leaving this place

I wish that all beings

Deeply enter enlightened knowledge,

Forever leaving the triple world.

 

Entering a Monastery

Entering the monastery

I wish that all beings

Expound various principles

Of noncontention.

 

When Setting Out on a Road

Setting out

I wish that all beings

Go where the Buddha goes,

Into the realm of nonreliance.

 

When on the Road

On the road

I wish that all beings

Tread the pure realm of reality,

Their minds without obstruction.

 

Entering a Village to Beg

Entering the village

I wish that all beings

Enter the profound realm of truth,

Their minds without impediment.

 

Having Entered a House

Having entered the house

I wish that all beings

Might enter the vehicle of Buddhahood

Which is equal in all times.

 

Gathas for Meals

 

Before Eating

In accepting this meal,

I vow to abstain from all evil,

To cultivate only good,

And benefit all sentient beings.

 

When Eating

While eating

I wish that all beings

Feed on the joy of meditation

And be sated by delight in truth.

 

When Taking Up a Bowl

Taking up the bowl

I wish that all beings

Perfect the vessel of truth

And receive human and divine support.

 

Upon Seeing a Full Bowl

Seeing the full bowl

I wish that all beings

Completely fulfill

All virtuous ways.

 

Upon Seeing an Empty Bowl

Seeing the empty bowl

I wish that all beings

Be pure of heart

And empty of afflictions.

 

When the Meal is Finished

The meal is finished

I wish that all beings

May accomplish their tasks

And attain Buddhahood.

 

Gathas for Dressing

 

Putting On Religious Garb

Putting on the Buddha’s clothes

I wish that all beings

Will be undefiled in mind

And fulfill the Way of the Great Sage.

 

When Putting on an Outer Garment

Putting on the Buddha’s clothes

I wish that all beings

Attain supreme bases of goodness

And reach the Other Shore of the teaching.

 

When Putting on Monastic Robes

Putting on the Sangha’s robe

I wish that all beings

Enter the foremost rank

And attain imperturbability.

 

When Putting on the Kesa

Now I open the Buddha’s robe,

A field far beyond form and emptiness,

The Tathagatha’s teachings for all beings.

 

When Picking Up a Staff

Picking up the staff

I wish that all beings

Establish great works of charity

And point out the road of truth.

 

Gathas for Leaving Home (becoming a monk)

 

When Formally Leaving Home

Leaving home

I wish that all beings

Leave home with the Buddha

And rescue one and all.

 

Shedding Lay Clothing

Shedding lay clothes

I wish that all beings

Cultivate roots of goodness

And abandon the yoke of transgressions.

 

When Shaving Off their Hair

Cutting my hair

I wish that all beings

Cultivate roots of goodness

And pass on to ultimate tranquility.

 

Taking Refuge in the Buddha

Taking refuge in the Buddha

I wish that all beings

Continue the lineage of Buddhas,

Conceiving the unexcelled aspiration.

 

Taking Refuge in the Teaching

Taking refuge in the Dharma

I wish that all beings

Enter deeply into the scriptures

And their wisdom be deep as the sea.

 

Taking Refuge in the Community

Taking refuge in the Sangha

I wish that all beings

Order the masses,

All becoming free from obstruction.

 

Receiving the Full Set of Precepts

Receiving the Precepts

I wish that all beings

Fulfill all means of liberation

And master the supreme teaching.

Gathas for Lavatory and Bath

 

When Entering a Bath

Entering the bath

I wish that all beings

Enter omniscient knowledge,

Knowing past, present, and future are equal.

 

While Washing the Body

Washing the body

I wish that all beings

Be undefiled in body and mind,

Radiantly pure inside and out.

 

When Washing off the Body’s Filth

Washing off the body’s filth

I wish that all beings

Be pure and harmonious

And ultimately without defilement.

 

When Washing the Hands with Water

Washing my hands with water

I wish that all beings

Have pure clean hands

To receive and hold Buddha’s teaching.

 

When Washing the Face with Water

Washing my face with water

I wish that all beings

Attain the pure teaching

And be forever free from defilement.

 

When Washing Feet

Washing my feet

I wish that all beings

Fulfill the bases of spiritual powers,

Unhindered wherever they go.

 

When Shaving Off Hair

Shaving my hair

I wish that all beings

Cultivate roots of goodness

And pass on to ultimate tranquility.

 

When Going to the Toilet

Going to the toilet

I wish that all beings

Reject greed, hatred, and folly,

And clean away sinful things.

 

When Going to Wash Thereafter

Going to wash

I wish that all beings

Speedily go

To the transmundane.

 

Gathas for the Meditation Hall

 

When Entering a Hall

Entering the meditation hall

I wish that all beings

Ascend to the unexcelled sanctuary

And rest there secure, unshakable.

 

When Setting Out a Seat

Setting out my seat

I wish that all beings

Cause good principles to bloom

And see their true character.

 

When Sitting Up Straight

Sitting up straight

I wish that all beings

Sit on the seat of enlightenment,

Their minds without attachment.

 

When Sitting Cross-legged

Sitting cross-legged

I wish that all beings

Have firm and strong roots of goodness

A attain the state of immovability.

 

When Cultivating Concentration

Cultivating concentration

I wish that all beings

Conquer their minds by concentration

Ultimately, with no remainder.

 

When Uncrossing the Legs

Uncrossing my legs

I wish that all beings

Observe that all acts and all things

Return to dispersal and extinction.

 

When Lowering the Feet and Resting

Lowering my feet

I wish that all beings

Attain liberation of mind,

Resting at peace, unstirred.

 

When Raising the Legs

Raising my legs

I wish that all beings

Leave the sea of birth and death

And fulfill all good qualities.

 

Gathas for the Dharma Hall

 

Praising the Buddha’s Virtues

Praising the Buddha’s virtues

I wish that all beings

Fulfill all virtues

Extolled endlessly.

 

Reverently Gazing at the Shrine

Gazing at the shrine

I wish that all beings

Be looked up to by all

Celestials and humans.

 

Bowing the Head to a Shrine

Bowing my head to the shrine

I wish that all beings

Be exalted beyond the view

Of gods and men.

 

When Reciting Scripture

Reciting the scripture

I wish that all beings

Be all like Universally Good,

Handsome and well adorned.

 

Circumambulating the Shrine

Circumambulating the shrine

I wish that all beings

Act without offense

And develop omniscience.

 

Circling the Shrine Thrice

Circling the shrine thrice

I wish that all beings

Diligently see the Buddha’s path

Without indolence of mind.

 

Gathas for when People are Seen

 

Upon Seeing a Group of People

Seeing a group of people

I wish that all beings

Expound the most profound teaching,

That all be harmoniously united.

 

On Festive Occasions

On this festive occasion

I wish that all beings

Enjoy themselves with truth

And realize amusement’s not real.

 

Upon Seeing Happy People

Seeing happy people

I wish that all beings

Always be peaceful and happy,

Gladly supporting the Buddhas.

 

Seeing Grateful People

Seeing grateful people

I wish that all beings

Be able to know the blessing

Of the Buddhas and enlightening beings.

 

Upon Seeing People Attached to Pleasure

Seeing people attached to pleasure

I wish that all beings

Delight themselves with truth,

Not abandoning love for it.

 

Upon Seeing People Suffer

Seeing people suffer

I wish that all beings

Attain fundamental knowledge

And eliminate all misery.

 

Upon Seeing People Sick

Seeing people sick

I wish that all beings

Know the body is empty and null

And divorce opposition and conflict.

 

Upon Seeing Mendicants

Seeing mendicants

I wish that all beings

Be harmonious and tranquil,

Ultimately conquering themselves.

 

Gathas for Nature

 

Upon Seeing Flowers Blooming

Seeing flowers blooming

I wish that all beings’

Mystic spiritual powers

Be like blossoming flowers.

 

Upon Seeing Fruits

Seeing fruits

I wish that all beings

Attain the supreme teaching

And realize the way of enlightenment.

 

Upon Seeing a Pond

Seeing the pond

I wish that all beings

Be fully accomplished in speech

And be skillful in preaching.

 

Upon Seeing a Cultivated Garden

Seeing the cultivated garden

I wish that all beings

In the garden of sense desires

Clear away the weeds of craving.

 

Gathas for Teaching and Teachers

 

Upon Explaining the Teaching

Explaining the teaching

I wish that all beings

Attain inexhaustible eloquence

And widely expound the essentials of the teaching.

 

Going to Tutors and Teachers

Studying the Dharma

I wish that all beings

Skillfully serve their teachers

And practice virtuous ways.

 

Receiving a Mentor’s Instruction

Receiving the mentor’s instruction

I wish that all beings

Bear themselves with dignity

And that their actions be truthful.

 

Receiving a Teacher’s Guidance

Receiving the teacher’s guidance

I wish that all beings

Enter the knowledge of birthlessness

And reach the state of independence.

 

When Receiving Respect

Receiving respect

I wish that all beings

Respectfully practice

All the Buddha’s teachings.

 

When Receiving No Respect

Receiving no respect

I wish that all beings

Not act in any ways

That are not good.

 

Extra Gathas

 

While Serving Parents

Serving Parents

I wish that all beings

Serve the Buddha,

Protecting and nourishing everyone.

 

When Attaining Desires

Attaining desires

I wish that all beings

Pull out the arrow of lust

And realize ultimate peace.

 

When Giving Something

As I give

I wish that all beings,

Will be able to relinquish all

With hearts free of clinging.

 

If in Danger or Difficulty

Seeing danger (In difficulty)

I wish that all beings

Be free,

Unhindered wherever they go.

 

In the Blistering Heat of the Day

In the heat of the day

I wish that all beings

Cast off myriad afflictions,

Putting an end to them all.

 

When the Heat Subsides and Begins to Cool

As the day cools

I wish that all beings

Experience the highest truth

And be ultimately cool.

 

When Going to Sleep at Night

Going to sleep

I wish that all beings

Attain physical ease

And undisturbed minds.

 

When Awakening from Sleep

Awakening

I wish that all beings

Awaken omniscience,

Perceiving in all directions.