28 Dec
Posted in: Talks
By    Comments Off on I Bring to Mind and Invoke

I Bring to Mind and Invoke

Another one of Ajahn Sucitto’s talks that’s having a big impact on me is the one from the last night of the retreat, titled: Establishing the Templein which he talks about the importance of making a space that can help create a “field of practice.” By which he means establishing a “theme” in the mind — a certain boundary of attention (non-harming, for example) — so that whatever arises in awareness, one can bring it into this field.

He talks about the use of ritual to “potentize” this field of practice, to solemnize it, to give a little more weight to it…to embed it more fully by expressing it as an outward form. One of these rituals is the practice of paying homage to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha:

“I bring to mind and invoke the Buddha, the awakened one, the one truly awakened by himself…through the courage to go out on his own, through the resilience and the resolve to keep practicing — no matter what — and through his penetration to the truth. I wish to bring Buddha to mind in this respect. I wish to bring, invoke the Buddha as the one who, moved by compassion, spent his entire waking life teaching, instructing, encouraging others for their welfare. I wish to bring to mind and invoke the Buddha as someone who had the gifts to be able to express this subtle and profound teaching in worlds that we can still make use of. And so bringing the Buddha to mind, I also acknowledge my ability to bear such a thing in mind, and to receive blessings of the Buddha.  

“I wish to bring to mind and invoke the Dhamma, the truth of the way things really are, revealed by a Buddha — taught in words, modeled in deeds, exemplified, penetrated by view. Dhamma that is immediate, accessible, inviting me inwards and encouraging me to reveal through my own efforts, through my own wisdom. I wish to bring to mind and invoke the Dhamma, which produces harmony, welfare, and liberation. I wish to bring to mind and invoke the Dhamma, which is persisting to this day and taught to this day, and which I aspire to realize for myself.

“I wish to bring to mind and invoke the Sangha, those who have practiced well, those who have practiced directly, those who have practiced with insight, those who have practiced with integrity through thousands of years — many different personalities, many different characteristics — who have struggled and worked and followed the pathway of the Buddha. And who are still present in this day and age. I wish to bring to mind and invoke any members of that extended community of practitioners who I know, who I read about, who act as models for my behavior. I wish to bring to mind and invoke Sangha so that I may also see myself as part of that community of followers.  

(He says this so beautifully, it feels like a blessing.)

He also talks about the practice of making an offering to this field. “By my act of offering, I’m entering into, contributing, participating in this field that we can all bear in mind.” He talks about the symbolism of these ritual offerings and the qualities they represent: Flowers for integrity/virtue/sila; Candles for discernment/clarity/seeing; Water for kindness/compassion; and Incense for samadhi.


His words are lovely. But what touches me the most is the unmistakeable depth of feeling they express. Reading doesn’t do it justice. Listen to him here.

Comments are closed.