Peaceful Harbor

Format of our meetings:

Here is the “Basic Ceremony” that we follow at Peaceful Harbor Sangha each Sunday evening:


6:30 Opening / Candle Lighting / First Gatha


Respectful of countless Buddhas, I calmly light these candles, brightening the face of the earth. One for the Buddha, the one who shows us the way in this life, one for the Dharma, the way of understanding and love, and one for the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness.


[OR, in the alternative: “one for the Buddha, the capacity within each of us to awaken, one for the Dharma, the teachings that guide us on our path, and one for the Sangha, the community of practitioners who support us on our journey.”]


6:30-6:40 Transitional TimeWe use this time to become fully present. We are about to begin a period of 20 minutes of silent, sitting meditation.


6:40 Wake and Invite the bell / Opening Gatha


Please join your palms with me [OR, Please join me in a bow.].

             [Wake the bell]


The one who bows and the one who is bowed to are both by nature empty. Therefore the communication between them is inexpressibly perfect. Our sangha is the net of Indra, reflecting all Buddhas everywhere. And with my person in front of each Buddha, I go with my whole life for refuge.


Invite the full sound of bell.  Bow


              Invite the Bell three times / Begin Meditation


 7:00 [or, after 20 minutes] Wake and Invite the large bell twice to indicate the end of the sitting period.


7:05  Walking Meditation


Wake and Invite the small bell to indicate the time to stand.

Frequently used gatha:


The mind moves in a thousand directions, but on this path I walk in peace. With each step, a gentle wind blows; with each step, a flower blooms.


Wake and Invite the small bell to indicate the time to begin walking meditation.


 (When the last person is back to the beginning)


Wake and Invite the small bell to indicate end of walking meditation


When all are back at the cushions, wake and invite the bell, bow, and return to cushions.


7:15  Introductions/Greetings



7:25 Program (book or Mindfulness Trainings)


We will now read a selection from the Dharma teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh

If it is the first Monday of the month, here we take up the Ceremony to Recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings.


Wake and Invite the large bell three times


7:35  Reflection/Dharma Sharing


7:55 Announcements


8:00  Closing


        Wake and invite the large bell once. Bow.

        Invite the large bell once. Stand.

        Invite the large bell once. Bow to each other.

        Invite the large bell once. Bow to our teachers.


Closing Gatha: May the fruits of our practice be of benefit to all beings.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

The First Mindfulness Training: Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

The Second Mindfulness Training: True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

The Third Mindfulness Training: True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater

happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Nourishment and Healing

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.