Thank you to the 49 persons who attended our beautiful
"Refuge/Precept" Ceremony (May 1, 2011, Awakening Heart). I
was very moved by your dedication and intention of commitment to the
universal Buddha, Dharma, Sangha within your heart.
Please join us each of the first four Sundays in May at our Awakening Heart gathering (5-7pm) as we celebrate "Enlightenment Month":
Here are ELEVEN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES highly recommended:
1) "Easy Amitabha Practice"
This is an ancient spiritual practice from Chinese Buddhism, and
millions of practitioners, both past and present, can testify to its
power. I have adapted it for our modern Western lifestyle. Here is the
mantra at least 11 times during 11 periods of the day (or whenever you
think of it). The mantra I recommend is the mantra "OM NAMO AMITABHA
BUDDHAYA" (Gratitude to the Infinite Light of Awakening). You can also
chant a shorter version of this mantra by simply chanting "AMITABHA"
(Infinite Light) or "NAMO AMITABHA" (Gratitude to the Infinite
Light). Other variations are "OM AMITABHA HRIH" or "OM AMIDEVA HRIH"
(Infinite Divine Reality). If you prefer the Divine Feminine
manifestation of the Buddha, then you may chant "NAMO
AVALOKITESHVARAYA" or "NAMO GUAN SHI YIN PUSA" (Quan Yin) or "OM MANI
PADME HUM" (Enlightened Wisdom Compassion Activating) which evokes the
Buddha/Bodhisattva of Compassion, one of the major emanations of
Simply put, the practice is to chant "OM NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHAYA" (or "AMITABHA" etc.) at least 11 times during 11 periods of the day (or whenever you think of it):
2) Daily Meditation
- Upon waking
- Before breakfast
- After breakfast
- Before work
- Before lunch
- After lunch
- After work
- Before dinner
- After dinner
- At bedtime
- In your sleep/dreams
-- (preferrably at least 20 minutes twice a
day before breakfast and before dinner).
3) Weekly Sangha -- Attend group meditation every week. The
minimum is once a month.
4) Meditation Retreat -- Attend a meditation retreat sometime
during this 10-week period. It could be a weeklong retreat, or a
weekend retreat, or even just a daylong retreat, but the minimum is a
half-day retreat (at least 3 or 4 hours).
5) Nature -- Spend time regularly in Nature (preferrably in
6) Gratitude -- Practice reciting out loud for at least 3
minutes nonstop all that you feel grateful for, or all that is
positive, or at least all that is not bad. If you do this every day
alone or with a friend, you will notice a major shift in your energy.
The minimum is to practice this once a week, preferrably with a
friend, taking turns.
7) Journal-writing -- Buy a new journal and write in it every
day or at least once a week. Express yourself on paper.
8) Dharma-reading -- Read good spiritual Dharma books during
this period. Immerse your mind in positive teachings.
9) Yoga / Qigong -- If you don't already practice Yoga or
Qigong, then this is the best time to start. Take a gentle Yoga class
or energizing Qigong class. There are several to choose from at the
Dallas Meditation Center and other places.
You will be amazed at how much this supports your meditation practice
and your spiritual growth.
10) Semi-Vegetarian Diet -- Consciously cut back on your meat
consumption. When eating meat, choose fish over other forms. The
next best would be poultry. Eliminate or cut back on pork and beef.
Eat more fresh vegetables. Perhaps take a vegetarian cooking class.
There are several great vegetarian restaurants, such as "Veggie
Garden" on Arapaho Rd. @ Custer Rd. in Richardson, Texas. Consider
having at least one vegetarian meal per day, and maybe one day a week
that is completely vegetarian.
11) "Dana" (Generosity) & "Seva" (Service) -- Consider making a
donation of at least $11 each week during this Spiritual Practice
Period to the Dallas Meditation Center. Or give a one-time gift of
$111. Or $1,111. And serve through volunteer work here or
elsewhere. Dana and seva are at the very heart of our