Browsing the blog archives for December, 2008.

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    Monastery in the Home honors in a simple and personal way the 1500-year-old Benedictine tradition, and reflects the monastic impulse within most faith traditions. We believe that “the cloister way” is a call open to many. Read more >>

Mantric Prayer

Any repeated prayer is “mantric.”  It prays itself through your mind, intention and voice.  Through the very nature of mantric prayer, the mind  clears away more complex thoughts and diversions.

You join with millions through time if you choose a common mantra, such as the Hail Mary, the Lord’s Prayer, Al -Fatiha, or Hare Krishna.  All are simple and pure calls to align your heart and mind with the Divine Presence.

I suggest choosing one that’s familiar and that you’re comfortable with. Say it aloud, alone, for two or three minutes.  Watch your body relax and your mind release.  Again, let this be a gentle discipline.  Nothing forced.

If you’re moved to pray the entire Rosary, or chant Hare Krishna for fifteen minutes, by all means continue.  Again, if you’re just starting out, begin with a few easily disciplined minutes. You may feel right or guided to take it further. You are free to respond to that call and continue the practice until the point of sufficiency. You’ll know.

+ The Chaplain

Simple Buddhist Practice

Monastics of different faith traditions understand one another. They share similar ways of practice and discipline to align with God, the Divine Presence, and nurture their spiritual growth and maturity. Many manifestations: one Source.

We live just down the road from two adjacent Buddhist centers. One is Tibetan and the other is Zen Buddhist, in tradition and orientation. Zen Buddhism focuses on simplicity and silence. There aren’t a lot of extras, and so if you come from a different faith tradition it is surprisingly easy to adopt Zen ways to your own discipline at home.

Walking meditation allows for both stillness and movement. I frequently walk the Buddha at the Upaya Zen Center. Here’s the way I do it: Circumambulate (that means walk in a circle) clockwise. Salute the Buddha with a respectful bow before beginning. Breathe in with one step, breathe out with the next. Walk at a slow and deliberate pace. Let the noise of the mind come through you and go. Notice the natural world around you. Know that the Buddha calls us to stillness, compassion for all living things, and the peace that passes understanding.

I walk at least three slow circles around the Buddha image. I wait for the stillness to come. When complete, I salute the Buddha presence again with a simple bow and then touch his forehead with my hand. That act often brings me in direct touch with His stillness and wisdom, if only for a moment. And for that moment I’m joined with everyone in the world who is meditating in this way. It’s a communion.

+ The Chaplain