Applying Rituals to Daily Life

Yutang Lin

Principles of Dharma gathered into a unified ritual;
Diligent practices familiarize one into full mastery.
Applying its implication in all aspects of daily life,
Soon realize full attainment to help sentient beings.


Buddhist rituals gather fundamental principles into a sequence of unified practices so that practitioners may attain full comprehension and mastery of the essences of Dharma through familiarization with such a model process. If emphasis is placed only on practice sessions of such rituals (Sadhanas) and application of such fundamental principles in daily activities is overlooked, then it would be difficult to achieve a total conversion and full attainment. If the implications of such principles are extended to activities in-between the sessions, then action and comprehension will gradually become unified and harmonized, and Dharma practices and daily activities will be in concordance, and consequently full realization will be attained sooner.

Citing the Amitabha (or White Chenrezi) Unification Sadhana that I compiled as an example, a practitioner can proceed as follows: In daily life reflect on one's "motivation" prior to taking actions so as to make sure that it is in agreement with impermanence and Bodhicitta. Be mindful of "original purity" so as to reduce the bondage and pollution of worldly considerations that are rooted in ignorance. In choosing actions or inaction one should rely on the insight and considerations of "totality." Whenever there are conflicts of worldly and Dharma ways, one should remain steadfast with attitudes and approaches that are in line with "taking refuge" in the Dharma. Constantly think of "offering" all one's enjoyments and belongings to the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) or of engaging in charitable almsgiving. Upon seeing or hearing about good deeds one should readily "praise" and take delight in them, and offer help. Constantly guide and encourage one's endeavors by the view that a practitioner of "accomplishment" should or would do so; constantly pray for all beings to be free from suffering, full of enjoyment, and enlightened soon, and upon any occasion try to use it as an opportunity for building Dharma connections. One's verbal expressions should resemble "spinning" of mantras in that the intention is only to benefit all beings and the words used are all gentle, kind and harmonious. Understood that all sentient beings share "one breath" and therefore, often think of taking in others' suffering during inhaling and spreading happiness during exhaling. Comprehended the original "identification" of all holy beings and sentient beings in the limitless-oneness of the Dharmadhatu, that is without division nor separation, and without beginning nor ending, and therefore, whole-heartedly devote one's life to the practice, service and propagation of Dharma.

If a practitioner can apply the implications of the rituals that he has adopted for regular practice into all aspects of daily life as described above, and further, can reflect carefully on how to improve attitude, manners and approaches in such a light so as to become more in accordance with Dharma teachings and the propensities and needs of particular sentient beings, then the day of full enlightenment would not be far away.

Written in Chinese and translated on October 3, 2003
El Cerrito, California

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