See Sit-and-Share Meeting Formats for alternative options.
[A PDF version of these instructions can be found here]
FIFTH PRECEPT SANGHA (pronounced san-ga) MEETING FORMAT
Day & Time: Every Wednesday @ 7pm
Location: Friends Meeting House : NEWBURY
Fifth Precept Group
‘Sit & Share’ Meditation Meeting
Presenter, please follow this format closely. Everything that you need to say is in italics.
7:00 – Read the opening aloud.
Welcome to this ‘Sit & Share’ meditation meeting of the Fifth Precept Buddhist Group.
This is a Peer Led group that is open to people of all backgrounds. The group is founded on the principles and practices of Truth and Truthfulness, Generosity, Harmlessness, Loving-kindness, Forgiveness, Mindfulness and Fellowship; and is grounded in the Buddhist principles of compassion and interdependence.
This meeting is open to people with any addiction and to any individuals choosing abstinence from intoxicants as their preferred lifestyle. Importantly, we abandon attachment to negative self-views by announcing ourselves by our first name only, without identifying ourselves with any addiction.
With the aspiration to build community and to get to know each other, we start each week by introducing ourselves. There is no need to identify yourself by anything other than your name. In the spirit of this intention, I will start by introducing myself as _______ … and I wish you all a very good evening! Now would you like to introduce yourselves…
Other participants introduce themselves by name.
If you need to leave the meeting, please feel free to silently leave at any time.
If you have any questions, there will be an informal opportunity after the closing dedication.
Statement of Anonymity and Confidentiality
In order for this group to be a place where we can feel safe to share about our practice, to share about our spiritual aspirations or to share about our recovery; and to create an atmosphere of openness, we ask that -
- who you see here remain anonymous,
- and what you hear here remain confidential.
Tonight’s meeting will begin with 10-minutes of serenity breathing meditation. I will then read tonight’s topic for reflection and we will settle into 10-minutes of silent but active contemplation. You will then be invited to ‘share’ your thoughts on the topic.
Please join me now for 10-minutes of serenity breathing meditation to calm the breath, relax the body and quiet the mind.
Ring the bell (x1) to begin the 10-minute ‘serenity’ meditation.
For those who are new to meditation, here are some guidelines:
- For the next 10-minutes, you are invited to practice ‘calm and pleasant abiding’ in the here and now.
- There is nowhere to go - there is nothing to be done - there is no one to be or to become.
- Sit with your back straight, feet on the floor; let your eyes gently close.
- Take 2 or 3 deep breaths in… and long breaths out; feel the breath in the whole body.
- Let your face be soft and your jaw relax.
- Let your shoulders drop back to open up the heart area; let your arms and hands rest easily.
- If your mind wanders away from your breath, just make a gentle, silent, non-judgmental note of “not-breath” and return your awareness to your breathing.
- Our whole practice is grounded on Loving-kindness; so you are encouraged to smile inwardly and outwardly; you are encouraged to take delight in this moment – this only moment.
7:10 – Ring the bell (x3) to end the 10-minute ‘serenity’ meditation.
7:10 - Mindful Movement (Qigong or Walking Meditation) for about 10 minutes.
7:20 Read the prepared meeting topic, (for examples see www.5th-precept.org/html/topic_basket.html)
[OPTIONAL : Introduce/explain why you choose this topic]
and then read this aloud:
Now we’ll contemplate and reflect silently on this topic for about 10 minutes. You will then be invited to ‘share’ on the topic, as it relates to your aspirations, or as it relates to your resolve, or to your practice or to your experience on this path of harmlessness. If you wish to share at that time, please make me aware.
Ring the bell (x1) to begin the 5-minute topic contemplation.
Here are some guidelines:
- Sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, eyes gently shut.
- Breathe naturally.
- From a place of non-judgmental calmness, reflect on the topic.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- If you get lost, just practice serenity breathing meditation again to become calm and focused.
- Befriend your practice – befriend yourself.
[OPTIONAL : After a minute or two, it may be appropriate and helpful to ‘drop’ one line from tonight’s topic into the mediation].
7:25 – Ring the bell (x3) to end the 5-minute topic meditation. Read the topic again, without commenting. Then read the following aloud:
As tonight’s presenter I will share last. You are now invited to share for a few minutes your thoughts about tonight’s topic. Text-book answers are not necessary for sharing, but your own experiences and understanding are most welcome. There are no wrong answers, only your personal wisdom. Would anyone like to start?
7:55 – The presenter shares.
8:00 - Close topic discussion and announce 30-minute silent [or guided] meditation:
There will now be a 30-minute silent [or guided] meditation.
8:00 – Ring the bell (x1) to begin the 30-minute [silent/guided] [serenity/insight] meditation.
8:30 – Ring the bell (x3) to end the 30-minute meditation.
8:30 – Announcements
- Dana for room hire
- Thank set up person
- Telephone / email list
- Volunteer to read the Dedication of Merit
Dedication of Merit
(Volunteer reads dedication of merit)
Please join me in the dedication of merit by repeating after me, the following aspirations:
We dedicate the merits of this practice
to all suffering beings.
May everyone be free of suffering,
and the causes of suffering.
May everyone enjoy happiness,
and the causes of happiness.
Keep sitting; and keep smiling.
[08:30 - 9:00 – Tea, Q&A and discussion, if requested.]
Version 07082015 – inspired and adapted from Wat Thamkrabok Tudong Sajja contemplations; Against-the-StreamRefuge Recovery Meeting format; Awakin Wednesday Gatherings at Awakin.org; ‘How to start a 12-step Sangha Meeting’ (Darren Littlejohn) and the Buddhist Recovery Network (Kevin Griffin).