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1st New Moon of 2008
January 8, 2008

Br. ChiSing, 1st New Moon of 2008 Dear Dharma sisters and brothers,

I bow in gratitude to the "Infinite Light of Awakening" that you truly are!

Today is the 8th day of the New Year and also the first New Moon of the year. We have successfully lived through the first week of 2008 which I am calling "The Year of the Waking Buddha" (see my letter from New Year's Day).

How are your mindful resolutions, intentions and commitments coming along so far? If you've already found yourself slipping, don't worry. Today is another wonderful day of opportunity for "beginning anew." It is the 8th day of 2008, and it is a New Moon today, coincidentally, too. So just take 3 slow, deep breaths and simply "begin anew." In every moment, you can start afresh and anew, right here, right now.

Every morning, you can recite this chant:

Namo Buddhaya:
Buddham saranam gacchami --
I take refuge in the Mind of Awakening,
that which shows me the Way in this life.

Namo Dharmaya:
Dharmam saranam gacchami --
I take refuge in the Path of Awakening,
the Way of Understanding and of Love.

Namo Sanghaya:
Sangham saranam gacchami --
I take refuge in the Community of Awakening,
those who live in Harmony and Awareness.

And every evening, you can recite this chant:

Countless beings, I vow to save.
Ceaseless afflictions, I vow to end.
Limitless Dharma doors, I vow to open.
The Highest Path of Awakening, I vow to realize.

Or, perhaps this chant, morning or evening:

Brahmavihara Maitri:
May we and all beings be happy and loved.
Brahmavihara Karuna:
May we and all beings transform our suffering.
Brahamavihara Mudita:
May we and all beings rejoice in each other's joys.
Brahmavihara Upeksha:
May we and all beings let go, be content and at peace.

And throughout the day, whenever you remember to come back to your breath in full awareness of the present moment, you can silently and continuously recite within your heart the sacred mantra of:

"Namo Amitabha Buddhaya"
or just simply: "Amitabha"
["amita" means "infinite" and "abha" means "light" in Sanskrit]

This particular mantra of the "Buddha of Infinite Light" puts us in touch with the many millions of practitioners in the East and in the past who have used this to open their hearts in gratitude to the "Infinite Light of Awakening" in ourselves and all beings. Through it, we flow into harmony with the energy of love, compassion, joy and equanimity inherent in our True Nature. And we affirm and express the Truth that, yes, who we really are is "Infinite Light," and what we are here to do is to simply express that Enlightenment and manifest the "Pure Land of Great Happiness" right here on Earth, right here in our own lives and relationships and daily activities.

So, Namo Amitabha Buddhaya, and practice meditation every day.

And, Namo Amitabha Buddhaya, participate in the Sangha every week.

And, Namo Amitabha Buddhaya, take one day a month off for a solitary or group "Day of Mindfulness."

Br. ChiSing, Bodhi Swaha And, Namo Amitabha Buddhaya, go to a few weekend retreats, and one weeklong or longer retreat, if you are able to, each year.

And finally, Namo Amitabha Buddhaya, whenever a day has been skipped in meditation or a week at Sangha has been missed, just let it go and simply "begin anew" once again, right here and right now. Our practice is really only "Yes" and "Thank You." That's it! And that is a deeper meaning of "Namo Amitabha Buddhaya." There's no need for stress or struggle in the practice. "Let go and let God" or, as I like to put it: "Let be and let Buddha!"

So, now,
dear Buddha in human drag,
let your light shine!

Let it shine,
let it shine,
let it shine!


Br. ChiSing

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