These bright early morning hours - just noticing the power of a morning awakening of our soul. It will change your day!
Bright early morning hours
The morning rituals at our monastery are composed of three stages. Firstly, we prostrate ourselves in front of an image of the Buddha. Secondly, we use visualisation to aid the souls of the deceased to transcend the cycle of reincarnation and achieve eternal peace.
Finally, there is the chanting of the Sutra, the teachings of Amitabha Buddha.
Every morning we wake up to the sound of someone clapping loudly on a wooden board, which announces the beginning of the rituals. The person who strikes the board is whoever is on duty at 1:50 AM; they are responsible for helping everyone to start their day. Our morning rituals start at 2:15 AM.
Each day we had the opportunity to give ourselves a new start. We did a three-part morning ritual that awakened our souls every morning at the Hsiang Kuang Buddhist Temple.
Awakening our souls
The First Part -Prostrations Meditation
In the first part of the ritual, we prostrate ourselves (bow) 108 times before the image of Amitabha Buddha, accompanied by music and rhythmic chanting of Amitabha’s name. These prostrations can be short (lasting 4 repetitions of the chant) or very long (32 repetitions), which gives us time to relax our minds and bodies and focus more deeply. Other times we break the rhythm and leap forward and back energetically, bowing down and then jumping up to our feet in one fluid motion. The sudden burst of adrenaline makes us feel alert and present in the moment. While prostrating ourselves, we focus on listening to the background music and repeating Amitabha's name in our minds. The reason for doing this is to clear our minds of negative thoughts and allow wisdom to arise. This also helps us to practice concentration.
The physical action of prostration mimics the action of bowing to Amitabha's feet with the forehead, which will enable us to eliminate Karma.
If we do well and concentrate during prostration, we will receive the energy that Amitabha sends to us through his light. This prostration process lasts 41 minutes, and then we have a 5-minute break before we move on to the next part of our morning ritual, which is to practice visualizing the release of spirits to Nirvana.
"This awareness must know what is going on in your mind at the moment, and it must know what is happening to you. If a wrong thought arises, you can turn to a positive thought in time; if a bad state arises, you can immediately change yourself, find the problem, and find a positive way to adjust yourself."
The Second Part -Walking Meditation
During this part of the ritual, we walk along the temple path, accompanied by rhythmic chanting of the Namo Amitabha Buddha (‘Namo’ means refuge). As we walk, each footstep lands in time with the music. We also use different techniques to help the spirit beings’ liberation from saṃsāra (the cycle of death and rebirth) and their transcendence to Nirvana. This part starts at 3:05 am and ends at 4:15 am. Again, we have a short break- this time for eight minutes.
The Final Part -Chanting Meditation
Gain more wisdom and positive power from the sutras
The final part is announced by the beating of a large drum. We chant the Incense Praise before chanting the Sutra:
“The Buddha Speaks of the Infinite Life Sutra of Adornment, Purity, Equality, and Enlightenment of the Mahayana School.”
We recite the Sutra from beginning to end, following along to a recording of many voices speaking the words. This part lasts for one and a half hours, and then we will have our breakfast.