Friends Puja and Devotion

This page of the site provides material on Puja and devotion suitable for Friends or Regulars. The page is in several sections, arranged like this:

– Courses introducing Puja and devotion

– Pujas and Mantras used in the FWBO

– Buddhist images

Each section consists of a long page containing a variety of material; it is arranged with the most-fully-developed and easiest to use at the top; leading down to simple outlines or notes for possible courses at the bottom. In this way once the page has loaded, you can scroll up and down to see the range available.

The material at the top of each page should be ‘ready to use’; it generally consists of well-prepared courses often including attractive handouts.

Introducing puja and devotion – courses

Ritual and Devotion (Vajrapriya, Cambridge, 6 weeks)

Exploring the psychology and meaning of Buddhist ritual through the ‘Sevenfold Puja’

A six-week course exploring Buddhist ritual. Provided by Vajrapriya, Cambridge Buddhist Centre, UK. Module 5 of Vajrapriya’s Buddhism Two Course in six modules.

Overview

Who/what do Buddhists worship? Commitment to a path of personal development

The practice of openness, disclosure and confession

The importance of developing positive emotion

Receptivity: turning towards what is deepest in ourselves and the universe

The ‘awakening heart’ (bodhicitta)

The Heart Sutra: the essence of emptiness. Chanting, and the use of mantras

Download this overview here.

Week 1: Ritual: what, why, and how

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Learning outcomes

Importance of an explorative attitude

Rituals we know

Ritual – what and why?

Triratna dedication ceremony

Suggestions for home practice

Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

Triratna dedication ceremony

Handout on main topics

Week 2: Who or what do Buddhists Worship?

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Learning outcomes

Review of last session

“Heroes”

Worship and egalitarianism

Relating to ‘archetypal figures’

Personal exploration by the course leader

Symbolisms of offerings and shrine room etiquette

Threefold Puja

Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

Handout on main topics

Triratna Threefold Puja

Week 3: Introducing the Sevenfold Puja

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Learning outcomes

Review of last session and home practice

Introduction to 7-fold Puja

Discussion of sections 1 to 3 in small groups

Going for Refuge

How do we develop sraddha / confidence?

Short introduction of Mantra

Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

The Sevenfold Puja

Refuges & Faith worksheet

Translations of Pali refuges & precepts

Handout on main topics

Week 4: Confession and Rejoicing

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Learning outcomes

Review of previous class and home practice

Why confess?

Reflecting on faults

Why rejoice in merits?

What holds us back from rejoicing / appreciating others

Exercise for group or pairs

Puja

Suggestions for home practice

Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

Diary of regrets/apologies and rejoicings/appreciation

Handout on main topics

Week 5: Receptivity to the Truth

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Led meditation around name-rupa

Review of previous class and home practice

Entreaty and Supplication

What’s your question?

What closes us off to receptivity?

Introducing the Heart Sutra

Suggestions for home practice

Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

Handout on main topics

Week 6: Bodhicitta – the awakening heart

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

Learning outcomes

Review of previous class and home practice

Transference of merits and self-surrender

Being of service

The bodhicitta

Puja

Suggestions for home practice

Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

Bodhicitta-meditation by Kamalashila

Handout on main topics

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Imagination, Beauty and Ritual (Padmavajri, 8 weeks)

This course over eight weeks on The Place of Imagination, Beauty, and Ritual in the Spiritual Life was provided by Padmavajri from the Brighton Buddhist Centre.

Padmavajri says: “I led two groups on this. The course was aimed at any Mitras and it turned out I had a group of experienced Mitras, and a group of newer Mitras (one or two years old). … The two groups here loved it, enjoyed it, were challenged by it, and also were helped to understand ritual and the arts much more.”

The material for each week includes:

  • a short list of learning objectives for the teacher;
  • a handout with questions for reflection (it may be best to give these to the participants in advance, and encourage them to prepare for the week);
  • a handout with suggestions for practice during the following week and references for further reading.

Overview over the Course

Week One: Emotional Energy and spiritual Aspiration

Week two: Faith and non-faith

Week three: The Psychology of the Spiritual Life

Week four: The Life and Death of the Imagination

Week five: Beauty and the Hierarchy of Art

Week six: The Dharma in Poetry

Week seven: The Psychology of Ritual

Week eight: Approaching the Sevenfold Puja

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Pujas and Mantras

This section contains links to the main pujas and other ceremonies as practiced in Triratna – often in several languages. There are also recordings of the main mantras which you can listen to. Some other pujas, less commonly used, are posted in the ‘Other Resources’ section under ‘Order Members’.

Pujas

Pujas and other rituals

  • English Language Rituals
  • Click below to download PDF or Word documents with the following ceremonies or pujas…
  • Seven fold puja– pdf file
  • Three fold puja – pdf file

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Mantras

Mantras (audio downloads)

Wildmind has recordings of the mantras of the main Buddha and Bodhisattva figures here – http://www.wildmind.org/mantras

The Birmingham Buddhist Centre sangha, led by Vipulakirti, have recorded their own versions here. Musical notation and an article about how to approach mantras and their chanting will follow soon from him, but, at the bottom of this page, you’ll find a short explanation about the mantras and the musical “principles” behind them.

With many thanks to Vipulakirti and all the chanters!

To hear the Birmingham version of the mantras, click below. They may take a few moments to download.

Shakyamuni Mantra

Aksobhya Mantra

Ratnasambhava Mantra

Amitabha Mantra

Amoghasiddhi Mantra

Vairocana Mantra

Maitreya Mantra

White Tara Mantra

A note on the Mantras from Vipulakirti

Each of these mantras has a second harmony part, or in the case of the Amitabha mantra, two harmony parts. However the basic mantra, the part you hear first on each recording, can stand alone and I suggest that where there is no one confident to sing the harmony part then just the mantra alone is used. It may be, however, that if the harmony part is sung just by a single person it will be effective, at least in small situations.

Each recoding consists of a few rounds of the basic mantra followed by a few rounds of the harmony part (or parts in the case of the Amitabha mantra) then a few rounds of the mantra and harmony together.

These mantra tunes have been written with the following principles in mind:

1) That there is a constant and frequently repeated rhythmic pattern.

2) That the melody and rhythm are simple enough to be comprehended in a short time and that having been learned no thinking is required to maintain them.

3) That the melodies don’t have a strong ‘flavour’. Too strong a melodic ‘flavour’ can be undesirable since it can trap the mind in a particular emotion and therefore not be ‘open-ended’ enough . Perhaps it could be argued therefore that on a single note (monotone) is the best way to chant a mantra and this may be so. For the busy working city dweller however, the ‘leg-up’ of a tune can be a big emotional help.

The point about flavour can best be illustrated from examples in the Christian tradition. Ancient Gregorian Chant doesn’t have a strong flavour, it is quite ‘expansive’ and ‘open ended’ like the clear blue sky (even though by unfortunate association this might not seem the case to ex-Catholics), whereas tunes like Crimond sung to ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ and ‘Abide with Me’ have a quite overpowering flavour and are not so conducive to ‘infinite possibilities’.

The scores of these mantras will be posted here shortly together with a short article on why I think the above stated principles are important, including a discussion of ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ in recent musical experiments, both mine and others’, in Triratna.

I am very grateful to all of those at Birmingham Buddhist Centre who gave of there time to take part in the chanting of these mantras and in particular to Taragita who got everyone together and co-ordinated the event and to Ben Gray for making the excellent recording.

Vipulakirti 26/11/07

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Buddhist Images

Wildmind has brief material on the main Buddha and Bodhisattva figures here – http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures

There is a small collection of work by Triratna Artists on the Triratna Photos website –

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fwbo/sets/72157602143090639/

Dharma Media, is an organisation dedicated to digitally preserving teachings written and oral, art work, photographs and scriptures. The site offers a wealth of images from the Tibetan traditions for free download.

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