14 May 2006

In the early morning

I rise in the half-light at 6am
Dress in my trousers of soft red cotton

Pull on a t-shirt and worn green sweater

Cover my feet in some stripy brown socks


I pull open the curtains

Let in the grey morning light

I glance out at to the garden and houses beyond

As the light gently bathes my bedroom


I listen to a scattering of bird song

Set the cushions ready and place the gong nearby

Visit the bathroom and relieve my bladder

Pad quietly downstairs


Tidy away the curtain over the back door

Glance into the garden

Turn and cross the lounge

Open the door and enter the hall


Slip on my green trainers

Put on my old teal fleece jacket

Reach around the archway into the kitchen

Pick up the back door key on its extra large ring


Unlock the back door and place the key on the table

Step outside into the cool grey morning

Hear the bamboo wind chimes clonk for a moment

Close the door, then silence


Stretch and exercise, allowing the morning in

In through my eyes, my ears, my nose and all of my body

The little ragged garden and houses beyond

Grey concrete below, grey cloudy sky above


Fat pigeons

Suddenly clatter

And flap off

To another rooftop


Bow to the morning


I open the door, step inside and lock it once more

Walk back to the hall and return the key

Take off my trainers and jacket

Walk upstairs feeling cool and alive


Kneel down and light a match

Light two candles in tall brass candlestick holders

Blow out the match and light an incense stick from a candle

Plant the incense into the fine ash in the censer


Light for the Buddha

Light for the morning

Light for the day

Light for all beings


Bow

Kneel, hands down, head down, hands open

Hands close, push off and stand once more

Three prostrations

Bow


Rearrange the cushions and sit down on them

Pick up my mobile phone, set the timer to 30 minutes

Put down the phone and pick up the striker

For the little green brass gong with the eyes of compassion inside


Bong… bong… bong…


Sitting


Breathing, wrestling thoughts, concerns

A scattering of bird song

The wind chimes clonk

Breathing, time goes by


The mobile phone buzzes 30 minutes

Bong… bong… bong…

Bow to the Buddha

Slowly unfold my legs and stand up


Pad downstairs and go to the kitchen

Select a bowl from yesterday, peel and slice the last banana into it

Sprinkle rolled oats, then sultanas

Pour apple juice into a glass


Place a mat on the table

Put the bowl and the glass onto the mat

Along with a spoon and a box of rice milk

Return quietly upstairs


Sit on the cushions

Set the timer on the mobile phone

Bong… bong… bong…

Bow

A few thoughts drift to the surface, then pass on by

A scattering of bird song, the clonking of the wind chimes


The mobile phone buzzes 30 minutes


Bong… bong… bong…


Bow to the Buddha


Tidy the cushions away

Kneel down and face the altar


Recite the Heart Sutra


Gate… Gate… Paragate… Parasamgate… Bodhi Svaha


Recite the Four Great vows


I vow to delivery innumerable sentient being

I vow to cut off endless vexations

I vow to master limitless approaches to dharma

I vow to attain supreme Buddhahood


Bow


Prostrate three times


Bow


Blow out the candles

Change into clothes for the day

Walk softly downstairs for breakfast



[24 April 2006]

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