Summer Shorts is a weekly short-read in honor of the season, to convey ideas about relationships and life in the blink of an eye.
Most of us have go-to ways of calming and centering ourselves. We meditate, walk in nature, enjoy natural beauty. We listen to something that soothes the busy mind, the weary body, and the soul in need of encouragement.
Here’s a beautiful meditation known as The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) to add to your collection. It is truly one of the most beautiful poem-prayers I’ve ever heard, read by Thich Nhat Hanh, chanted by brother Phap Niem.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He has spent most of his later life in the Plum Village Monastery in southwest France. He’s 92 years old.
The creators of the soundtrack for The Great Bell Chant were Gary Malkin and collaborator Michael Stillwater. The audio comes from a CD/book released in 2006 called Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying.
Here are the lyrics of the poem being read.
May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos.
Even in the darkest spots, living beings are able to hear it clearly
so that all suffering in them ceases.
Understanding comes to their heart
and they transcend the path of sorrow and death.
. . .
The universal dharma door is already open.
The sound of the rising tide is heard clearly.
The miracle happens: a beautiful child appears in the heart of a lotus flower.
One single drop of this compassionate water is enough
to bring back the refreshing spring to our mountains and rivers.
. . .
Listening to the bell, I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve.
My mind calm, my body relaxed,
a smile is born on my lips.
Following the sound of the bell
my breath brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness.
In the garden of my heart, the flowers of peace bloom beautifully.
Have a blessed day.
Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry: 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.