Below is the typical program of an evening’s meeting. You may also wish to download a copy of the Broward Lotus Sangha Program Pamphlet.
As the day begins to wind down, this is a wonderful opportunity to follow your breathing and move into a place of stillness and be present with what is.
Opening Gatha and Invitation of the Bell
A Sangha member recites a Mindfulness Poem or Gatha and Invites the Bell of Mindfulness three times.
As you hear each bell, you are invited to take 3 in- and out-breaths.
Silent Sitting Meditation (20-30 Minutes followed by the bell)
Walking Meditation (10-15 Minutes followed by the bell)
Silent Sitting Meditation (20 Minutes followed by the bell)
Welcome and Introduction of Dharma Teaching (20-30 Minutes)
The Sangha Moderator introduces the evening’s speaker, audio or video recording, or reading. The conclusion of the Dharma talk is marked by an invitation of the bell.
Dharma Discussion (15-20 Minutes)
After a few moments of silence, the Sangha Moderator or the member who selected the evening’s Dharma portion speaks, inviting Sangha members to introduce themselves and share, mindfully, what arises for them in relation to the evening’s Dharma Teaching, issue of practice, and/or question of the day. It is customary for someone wishing to speak to bow to the Sangha and for the Sangha to bow in return before and after they finish speaking. During this time, we endeavor to refrain from intellectual discussion and speak from a deeper place of truth and from the heart.
Announcements, Closing Songs, Closing Gatha and Invitation of the Bell (10-15 Minutes)
Towards the end of our gathering, the Sangha Moderator makes any necessary announcements and introduces the song(s) for the evening (if any) that together, as a Sangha, we then sing. In the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, singing is used as a way to build community, teach mindfulness through the use of melodic gathas, and bring joy to each other and to the world.
After a few moments of silence, the bell sounds to signal the end of our gathering.
The bell master will then invite the small bell so everyone can mindfully rise and face the altar. Then, to each of three consecutive soundings of the bell, Sangha members bow to the Buddha (our True Nature or capacity within to be Awake or become Enlightened), to the Dharma (The Path of Understanding & Love or True Teachings), and to the Sangha (The Community that Lives in Mindfulness and Awareness: each other).
At this point, Sangha members can mindfully pick up their sitting arrangements, blow out candles and leave meditation area in Noble Silence.
Tea and Treats
After our formal practice period ends, all Sangha members who wish to do so are invited to mindfully share some tea, ask questions, socialize and get to know each other a little better.