A gatha is a poem used during meditation to unite the body-mind. Breathing in, we recite the first line of the gatha. Breathing out, we recite the next line. Following the lines of the gatha with our breath, our breath and mind can become focused on the insight within the verse, and we can let go of concerns about the past or the future and experience the happiness that comes from returning to ourselves and resting in the present moment.
Brushing My Teeth
Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth,
I vow to speak purely and lovingly.
When my mouth is fragrant with right speech,
a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.
Diana Petech’s Lamp Transmission Gatha
Sitting on the grass, high on the mountain,
my back leaning against a rock,
from the hawk planing slowly in circles,
I am learning attention and silence.
Thousands of masters,
if only I listen.
And now, just now, every single now is the right instant to sing them my thanks.
This cup of tea in my two hands,
mindfulness held perfectly.
My mind and body dwell
in the very here and now.
Following the Breath
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
I am so happy to hug my loved one.
I know my loved one is real and alive in my arms.
Joanne Friday’s Lamp Transmission Gatha
Riding the wave of the in-breath, we arrive at a sleeping newborn—
happy, healthy, fearless, at peace.
Riding the wave of the out-breath, through a sea of infinite compassion,
We remember who we are.
Hearing the bell,
I am able to let go of all afflictions.
My heart is calm,
my sorrows ended.
I am no longer bound to anything.
I learn to listen to my suffering
and to the suffering of the other person.
When understanding is born in me,
Compassion is also born.
Listening to the Bell
May the sound of this bell
penetrate deeply into the cosmos.
In even the darkest places,
may living beings hear it clearly,
so that understanding may light up their hearts
and, without hardship, they may transcend
the realms of birth and death.
Looking in the Mirror
Awareness is a mirror reflecting the four elements.
Beauty is a heart that generates love
and a mind that is open.
Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel stable and solid.
Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I feel calm.
Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.
When we are determined to go just in one direction,
we will meet the spring, and our march will be a heroic one.
Our actions should be free from speculation or competition.
If the lamp of our mind shines light on its own nature,
then the wonderful transmission of the Dharma will be realized in both East and West.
Turning on the Television
The mind is a television
with thousands of channels.
I choose a world that is tranquil and calm,
so that my joy will always be fresh.
Turning on the Water
Water flows from high mountain sources.
Water runs deep in the Earth.
Miraculously, water comes to us.
I am filled with gratitude.
Using the Telephone
Words can travel thousands of miles.
May my words create mutual understanding and love.
May they be as beautiful gems,
as lovely as flowers.
Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully each moment
and to look at all beings with the eyes of compassion.
I have arrived, I am home
in the here, in the now.
I am solid, I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.
When Anger Arises
Feeling the heat of anger right now,
I close my eyes and look into the future.
Three hundred years from now,
where will you, where will I, be?