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The following is from a Buddhist wedding attended Sunday. Substituted for the names of the actual couple are the names of two liberated ants.

Incense Offering

Rev. Viet: The fragrance of this incense
Invites the awakened mind
To be truly present with us now.

The fragrance of this incense
Fills our space,
Protects and guards our mind
From all wrong thinking.

The fragrance of this incense
Collects us and unites us.
Precepts, concentration and insight
We offer for all that is.

Namo Buddhaya

Rev. Viet: The Dharma is deep and lovely.
We now have a chance to see it, study it and practice it.
We now realize its true meaning.

Introductory Words

Rev. Viet: Today we gather to lend spiritual support to Henry and Adrian, in their taking the vow to practice the Five Awarenesses. Please, everyone, follow your breathing in mindfulness when you hear the sound of the bell.

The Five Awarenesses

Rev. Viet: Henry and Adrian, please sit and form a lotus bud with your palms.

Rev. Viet: Noble community, please listen. This is the moment when Henry and Adrian will make the vow to practice the Five Awarenesses and thus become husband and wife. Students of the Buddha are aware that life is one and that happiness is not an individual matter. By living and practicing awarenesses, we bring peace and joy to our lives and the lives of those related to us. Henry and Adrian, please say "Yes, I do" firmly if you intend to make the vow to practice them...

Rev. Viet: One. We are aware that all generations of our ancestors and all future generations are present in us.
This is the first of the five awarenesses. Do you make the vow to receive, study and practice it?

Henry and Adrian together: Yes, I do.

Rev. Viet: Two. We are aware of the expectations that our ancestors, our children and their children have of us.
This is the second of the five awarenesses. Do you make the vow to receive, study and practice it?

Henry and Adrian together: Yes, I do.

Rev. Viet: Three. We are aware that our joy, peace, freedom and harmony are the joy, peace, freedom and harmony of our ancestors, our children and their children.
This is the third of the five awarenesses. Do you make the vow to receive, study and practice it?

Henry and Adrian together: Yes, I do.

Rev. Viet: Four. We are aware that understanding is the very foundation of love.
This is the fourth of the five awarenesses. Do you make the vow to receive, study and practice it?

Henry and Adrian together: Yes, I do.

Rev. Viet: Five. We are aware that blaming and arguing can never help us and only create a wider gap between us; that only understanding, trust and love can help us change and grow.
This is the fifth of the five awarenesses. Do you make the vow to receive, study and practice it?

Henry and Adrian together: Yes, I do.

Rev. Viet: Henry and Adrian, now is the time for you to stand and face each other and bow to each other to show your mutual respect. Your love and commitment will continue to grow based on this ground of mutual respect.

Exchange of the Rings followed by the Statement of Support

Rev. Viet: Henry and Adrian, you have made the solemn vow to study and practice the five awarenesses. You have become husband and wife with the support of the three gems. As long as you continue this practice, you should continue to have the support of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha and your happiness will be the happiness of many others.
Hearing the sound of the bell, you may now kiss the bride.

Rev. Viet to the congregation: Please stand. Now we will all recite together the Loving--Kindness Discourse.

Let no one deceive another
nor despise anyone anywhere.
Neither in anger nor enmity
should anyone wish to harm another.

Whether standing, walking or sitting,
lying down or whenever awake,
one should develop this mindfullness;
This is called divinely dwelling here.

May all beings be happy and secure!
May all beings have happy minds!

Rev. Viet: Now I present to you Henry and Adrian Ant!


Exiting the temple, one notices the soft chimes and subtle incense only in their absence. There is almost at once a silence and a transformation in the senses as the chimes are replaced with the singing of birds and the laughter of children, the incense with the scent of flowers carried on the wind and the physical beauty of the temple and a couple in love remains in the mind as the heart is filled with a peace indescribable.

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