Waking up in the morning, I vow with all beings
to listen to those whom I love, especially to things they don’t say.
Lighting a candle for Buddha, I vow with all beings
to honor your clear affirmation: “Forget yourself and you’re free.”
When I stroll around in the city, I vow with all beings
to notice how lichen and grasses never give up in despair
Watching a spider at work, I vow with all beings
to cherish the web of the universe: touch one point and everything moves.
When the racket can’t be avoided, I vow with all beings
to close my eyes for a moment and find my treasure right here.
With tropical forests in danger, I vow with all beings
to raise hell with the people responsible and slash my consumption of trees.
Watching gardeners label their plants , I vow with all beings
to practice the old horticulture and let plants identify me.
On reading the words of Thoreau, I vow with all beings
to cherish our home-grown sages, who discern the perennial Way.
Falling asleep at last I vow with all beings
to enjoy the dark and the silence and rest in the vast unknown.
Robert Aiken, Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice