White Wind Zen Community

A Community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985

Chants

by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

June 13, 2005

At the beginning of your sitting round:

  • Take your seat facing the wall
  • If you are right-handed, the gong should be to your right
  • Place your hands in the mudra and just sit for a moment to let the bodymind settle into posture
  • Keep your left hand in the mudra (as though the right hand were still there)
  • With your right hand pick up the gong striker
  • Strike the gong three times. Pause between strikes to let it resonate (don’t go too fast)
  • Following the third strike, bring your left hand out to the left thigh, palm up (you’re holding the striker in your right hand)
  • Bring the left hand to gassho, but don’t bow.
  • Chant “The Three Jewels” (always recited without the book)
  • Strike the gong once at the end of “The Three Jewels”
  • No bow
  • You are still holding the striker with your right hand, but now you need to pick up Chanting Text with your left hand and turn to page 3, so put the striker down on the zabuton (I put it next to my zafu so I know where it is)
  • Chant “The Ten Proclamations”
  • At the end of the chant pick up the striker and strike the gong once
  • Bow
  • Straighten
  • Strike the gong once
  • Put text away (With your left hand. You are still holding the gong striker in your right hand),
  • Place left hand on the left thigh, palm up.
  • Strike the gong once and bring your left hand to gassho
  • Strike the gong twice in rapid succession
  • Bow
  • Straighten
  • Put the left hand in the mudra
  • Place the striker in the gong
  • Place the right hand in the mudra
  • Pause for a moment, without moving.
  • Then pick up kaishaku and begin your sitting round

Ending the round (day time)

  • At the end of the sitting round, you will be facing the wall with the gong to your right (if you are right-handed)
  • Pick up the striker, strike the gong once and bow forward
  • Straighten
  • Strike the gong again and immediately begin chanting the title to “The Four Great Vows” in Japanese – “Shi Gu Sei Gan”. Pick up the chanting text while reciting the title and turn to the correct page. Use the book even if you have memorized the chant.
  • Recite “The Four Great Vows” in Japanese three times
  • At the end of the last recitation, strike the gong once
  • Recite “The Four Great Vows” in English once
  • Strike the gong once
  • Put the book down with your left hand, then bring your left hand out to the left thigh, palm up
  • Strike the gong once and bring your left hand to gassho
  • Strike the gong twice and bow
  • Straighten
  • Put the striker in the gong
  • Place your right hand in the mudra
  • Pause for a moment and then begin taking care of your cushions

Ending the round – evening (includes the Verse of Closing, the “Shushin-ge)

  • At the end of the sitting round, you will be facing the wall with the gong to your right
  • Pick up the striker with your right hand
  • Strike the gong once and bow forward (the hand with the striker remains near your right knee, close to the gong)
  • Straighten
  • Strike the gong again and immediately begin chanting the title to “The Four Great Vows” in Japanese – “Shi Gu Sei Gan”.
  • Pick up the chanting text while reciting the title and turn to the correct page
  • Recite “The Four Great Vows” in Japanese three times
  • At the end of the last recitation, strike the gong once
  • Recite “The Four Great Vows” in English once
  • Strike the gong once and immediately begin chanting the title to the Shushin-ge (“Shushin-ge”) on page 47 of the current edition of “Chanting Breath and Sound”
  • Recite the first four lines of the chant
  • Strike the gong once
  • Bow
  • Straighten
  • Chant “Makura Om” three times
  • At the end of the last recitation, strike the gong once
  • Put the book down with your left hand, then bring your left hand out to the left thigh, palm up
  • Strike the gong once and bring the left hand to gassho
  • Strike the gong twice in rapid succession
  • Bow
  • Straighten
  • Put the striker in the gong
  • Place both hands in the mudra
  • Pause for a moment and then begin taking care of your cushions.