Buddhist Centre Features

The Dedication Ceremony - A First Post To Set My Intention...

On Fri, 25 September, 2015 - 22:28
sheena's picture

I have just read aloud the dedication ceremony sat on my cushion surrounded by the train track I have left out so I can meditate first thing tomorrow morning. I found it very moving to describe our home as ‘this sacred spot’ – and to dedicate this place to my best intentions. It reminded me of Ratnavandana’s talk ‘Living In the Mandala’ from Bristol’s Rainy Season Retreat.

We dedicate this place to the Three Jewels:
To the Buddha, the Ideal of Enlightenment to which we aspire; 
To the Dharma, the Path of the Teaching which we follow; 
To the Sangha, the spiritual fellowship with one another which we enjoy.  

Here may no idle word be spoken; 
Here may no unquiet thought disturb our minds.  
To the observance of the Five Precepts 
We dedicate this place;
To the practice of meditation 
We dedicate this place; 
To the development of wisdom 
We dedicate this place; 
To the attainment of Enlightenment 
We dedicate this place.  

Though in the world outside there is strife 
Here may there be peace; 
Though in the world outside there is hate 
Here may there be love; 
Though in the world outside there is grief Here may there be joy.  

Not by the chanting of the sacred Scriptures, 
Not by the sprinkling of holy water, 
But by own efforts towards Enlightenment 
We dedicate this place.  

Around this Mandala, this sacred spot, 
May the lotus petals of purity open;  
Around this Mandala, this sacred spot,  
May the vajra-wall of determination extend;
Around this Mandala, this sacred spot,
May the flames that transmute Samsara into Nirvana arise.  

Here seated, here practising, 
May our mind become Buddha,
May our thought become Dharma,
May our communication with one another be Sangha. 
For the happiness of all beings,
For the benefit of all beings,  
With body, speech, and mind,  
We dedicate this place.

Ratnavandana quotes Spoonface Steinberg (a book and radio play about a young girl with cancer):

And in the book it said there was different ways you can pray - there is like when you get up and you sit and say things - that is one way of praying - and then there is this different way what was invented by these people in Poland quite a while ago - this is when everything you do is a prayer - and you have to do everything you do the best you can because it is not just normal in fact it is a prayer straight to god - when you smile that is a prayer - when you talk that is a prayer - and when you walk that is a prayer - and when you brush your teeth and when you give someone a kiss - and Mams and Dads when they go to bed that is a prayer - and when you pray that is a prayer - and when you sit, when you suck, when you laugh, when you dance, when you snore - everything you do is a prayer.
Spoonface Steinberg, p.26.

I think this is how I can use my parenting as practise this weekend. When I am face painting at the school fete, when I am sorting out breakfast, when I am wiping out the potty and (although my toddler no longer needs her head cradled as in my friend Amanda Bonnick’s poem), when I am bathing my children. 

Your Symphony
by Amanda Bonnick

Your symphony is how you hold his head,
so delicate yet robust, in your hand, 
and test the water with your arm as you
net his wriggling limbs in your embrace.

You orchestrate the water temperature,
the depth of suds, the cosiness of towel.
You conduct with magisterial command
the tender cleaning of the folds of skin.

You judge, with fine precision, and with ease,
the moment when the game could turn to fear
and carefully, with ordinary love,
you empty out the water, hold him close.

Now the drums have ceased and the winds have blown.
The strings set up a tender, thrilling sound
as his soft head nods slow upon your breast.
A dream steals over both of you, as one.

He’s safe in bed, exhausted by the bath
and you survey the wreckage of the scene.
Clothes and nappies, cotton wool and powder;
all to clear before you can have your tea.

Within your heart the music is still playing
and will play on for all the years ahead,
For every melody that you set dancing
will last for ever; this your symphony.

And this is my intention, which I set with this ceremony to use all of my parenting; ‘warts and all’ as Karunagita describes it, as my practise. I’m excited about this, but know myself well enough to feel a little shy and daunted. I’m excited to find out more from the team at Taraloka

‘By my own efforts towards enlightenment’ - maybe by being a bit kinder, a bit more generous with my children and my partner, by keeping things simple, being a bit gentler with my speech and paying attention a bit more this weekend, I can dedicate this place.

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sally72's picture

This is really beautiful. I am exhausted by a very draining year supporting my son this year. He now attends a special school. The year has been such a test of patience, systems and working on my response to people involved in decisions for my son, often based on finances. 

Reading this puts me back in the present, back to trying to set my intentions of my practice, accepting I am tired and that I am good enough. 

Much metta to all those participating in this weekend and parents everywhere 


sheena's picture

Hi Sally, nice to meet you here. Thankyou. ‘I am tired and I am good enough’ Lovely. Will hold that in mind today. I hope your day nourishes you today.x

Amritavani's picture
Wonderful Sheena. So inspiring. I’m going to go and sit by my shrine before the children get up and let that sink in xxx
sheena's picture

Thanks- me too. Nice to be sitting with you x

sally72's picture

great to make new connections

Jayaraja's picture

Hi Sheena,  lovely to read touching and evocative. Metta Jayaraja

sheena's picture