West London Buddhist Centre

Poetics of Awakening – Thursday

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Day 5

29th September

‘We think of awareness as our awareness
– actually we’re just participating the whole field of awareness’.

pastel acer leaf


Session 1 – 9am


Song – Gracias a la vida by Violeta Para performed live by Mercedes Sosa  and Joan Baez
(June 1988 at the Roman Amphitheatre, Xanten, Germany) https://youtu.be/rMuTXcf3-6A

Talk by Bodhilila

Mindfulness of sounds with singing bowls

Led standing meditation by Bodhilila

Walking meditation

Aria from St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 “Erbarme Dich” by J.S. Bach
(performed by Daniel Taylor and the choir and orchestra of the theatre of early music) https://youtu.be/E7iIz4Qb5eE





The Buddha’s Advice to Bahiya

“Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
That is how you should train yourself.
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard,
only the sensed in reference to the sensed,
only the cognised in reference to the cognized,
then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that.
When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there,
you are neither here nor yonder
nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress [dukkha].”

translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu 


Gracias a la vida (Thanks To Life)

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me two eyes, and when I open them
I clearly distinguish black from white

And in the high sky, its starry depths,
And from the crowds, the man that I love

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me hearing, which in all its breadth
Day and night records crickets and canaries,
Hammers, turbines, barking, dark clouds,
And the tender voice of my beloved one

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me sound and the alphabet
And with it the words to think and speak
Mother, friend, brother, and the light that brightens
The path of the soul of my loved one

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has kept my tired feet walking
With them I walked through cities and puddles,
Beaches and deserts, mountains and plains
And your house, your street and your courtyard

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It gave me my heart, which shakes its frame
When I look at the fruit of the human brain
When I look at good ones so far from bad ones
When I look at the bottom of your light-color eyes

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me laughter and it has given me tears
Thus I distinguish between joy and pain,

They are all elements of my song
and of your song, which is all one and the same
Thanks to life, which has given me so much.


Session 2 – 3.30pm


White Tara mantra in call and response led by Paramananda and Bodhilila
Just sitting






Session 3 – 7.30pm


Readings and reflections on the day by Bodhilila

Reading 1 lyrics of song, Gracias a la vida

Reading 2  Buddha’s advice to Bahiya

Just Sitting

Buddha Puja from the Dhammapada led by Bodhilila and Khemini






Buddha Puja (from the Dhammapada)

1. Praise

He is calm like the earth that endures
He is steady like a column that is firm
He is pure like a lake that is clear
He is free from samsara – the endless round of suffering.

In the light of his vision
He has found true freedom.
His thoughts are peace,
His words are peace,
And his work is peace.

2. Salutation

By what earthly path could you lead the Buddha astray,
He who can wander the pathless ways of the Infinite?
The Buddha, who is awake, whose victory cannot be reversed,
Is a being  none can conquer.
One of true vision is not easy to find.
Freed from craving, hatred and delusion,
A Buddha is a guide to be treasured.

1st reading (advice to Bahiya)

Shakyamuni mantra

3. Going for Refuge

People in fear flee for refuge to mountains or forests,
To groves, sacred trees or shrines.
But these are not a safe refuge.
They are not a refuge that frees from sorrow.
One who goes for refuge to the Buddha,
To the Truth teachings, and to the community he taught,
They go indeed to a great refuge.
That is a safe refuge, a haven of wisdom and compassion.
Those who go to that refuge will eventually be free from sorrow.

Refuges and Precepts

4. Acknowledging Unskilfulness

Hold not a fault of little matter
Thinking – ‘this is minor to me’.
The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water jar.
In the same way, foolish people become full of delusion,
Though they gather it little by little.
Focus not on the flaws of others,
Nor on their deeds and misdeeds.
Focus instead on what we ourselves regret,
What we have done, or not done.
Neither in the sky, nor deep in the ocean,
Nor in a mountain cave, nor any worldly place,
Can we avoid our unskilful actions.

5. Rejoicing

Oh, let us live in joy,
Kindly among those who blame.
Among those who hate, let us live in love,
Among those who fight, let us live in peace,
Among those who crave, let us live content,
Among those who slumber, let us live awake.
When we know the balm of solitude,
And experience the relief of silence,
Then we are free from fear and sorrow,
And feel the joy of the Dhamma.
It is a delight to see the noble and ethical;
Contact with them inspires and gladdens us.

6. Awake and Watchful

The followers of Buddha Gotama
Are awake and ever watchful.
And ever by night and by day
They remember the Buddha, their teacher.
The followers of Buddha Gotama
Are awake and ever watchful.
And ever by night and by day
They find joy in deep contemplation.

2nd reading

This being, that becomes,
From the arising of this, that arises,
This not being, that does not become,
From the ceasing of this, that ceases.

7. Transference of benefit

As from a large garden of flowers
Many garlands and wreaths can be made,
So, by a human being in this life,
Much good can be achieved.
May any merit gained through Dhamma practice
Be shared equally among all beings.
The perfume of flowers goes not against the wind –
Not even the finest perfumes
Of sandalwood, of rose, or of jasmine.
But the perfume of virtue
Does travel against the wind,
And it can reach right to the ends of this world.

Shayamuni mantra


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Drinking tea, sitting, quiet – ahhh. This Saturday enjoy Zen tea. More info here. Book here.