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Buddha Mind - get one, be one.


the bell of silence
the bell
in silence

Puja is a Pali word which means 'honour, worship and devotional attention'. It can describe a variety of forms but in our monastery it generally refers the twice daily gathering of the community in the main meditation hall.
We meet first at 5 am. The idea is that for those junior, punctuality means getting there at least five minutes early. While it is not an allocated duty those that arrive first should ensure that the shrine is prepared; see that candles, incence and matches are available, that the senior person's seating place is in order and the hall is generally tidy.
The group waits in silence until the senior person rings a bell to begin. They go from their seat to the shrine and light the candles and incence. The group kneels with their hands in anjali (c.f.) until the senior person returns to their seat and then all bow (c.f.).
There is then about 20 minutes or more of chanting in Pali or English. The chants are a mixture of doctrine and devotion. There is then a period of silent meditation until 6:30 when the bell is again rung to signal the end of the sitting. Usually an uplifting verse is chanted followed by a closing homage which ends the meeting.

Elements involved in a puja:
Offerings Flowers, candles and incense on the shrine [see ART / SHRINES].
Bowing An act of humility before a person (perhaps a senior member of the sangha) or before the shrine, and what it represents.
Lights These neeed not be limited to offeings on the shrine [see FESTIVALS / VESAK].
Chanting The use of traditional chants to connect with both the wisdom teachings of the Buddha and to the devotional heart.
Meditation Opening in silence to the 'spirit' of the occasion or contemplating an aspect of the teaching.
Relationship Developing a sense of communion with all present through group activity, bowing, chanting, etc.