Sangha Vows

developed by Lyn Fine and Community of Mindfulness NY Metro I n the midst of conflict and confusion in the world and in ourselves, the Five and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to us. In addition, we are finding that these Sangha Vows are helpful reminders for opening and deepening our Sangha friendships.

The form of the vows is modeled after the four Bodhisattva vows in the Japanese Zen traditions. The vows may be chanted or spoken, individually or as a Sangha.

Some modifications have been suggested. For example, after "kindness" in the first vow, add "and use them as opportunities to deepen understanding." You may replace "vow" with aspire to, undertake, commit to, determine to, or a simple statement of affirmation such as "I greet. ... " You might replace "I" with "we" or "let us." The first verse might be  repeated at the end or after each of the other verses.

Please adapt the language to your Sangha. They were originally developed in the fall of 1998, and are "in process." We would enjoy hearing your experience of practicing with them.

1. Sangha well-being nourishes my well-being. My well-being nourishes Sangha well-being. Anchored in conscious breathing, I vow to water the seeds of joy, understanding, and inclusiveness in myself and all beings.

2. Conflicts are inevitable. Anchored in conscious breathing, I vow to greet them with love and kindness.

3. Unwholesome mental formations-resentment, disappointment, fear, jealousy, anger, depression, despair, discouragement, doubt-are unavoidable. Anchored in conscious breathing, I vow to recognize and transform them.

4. Attachment and aversion are inescapable. Anchored in conscious breathing, I vow to see them, smile to them, and let them go.

Dharma teacher Lyn Fine has taught resolving conflict creatively in schools. Community of Mindfulness NY includes Sanghas in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, New York as well as Morristown, New Jersey.

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