This ceremony was prepared by Venerable Thubten Chodron with additions by Geshe Gelek.
- Parents welcome their babies
- The community welcomes the babies
- Children’s aspirations for the parents
- Parents’ aspirations for the children
- Chanting and blessing
Parents welcome the babies
My dear child,
As your parents, we welcome you to this new life and wish you everything good in it. Even though we were strangers not long ago—we do not know who you were just two years ago—we love you. We will do our best to provide for you materially, give you a good education, and care for you in all circumstances.
As your parents, we will have a caring relationship and communicate well with each other, for we know that is the best way to let you know that this world is a loving place. We will live ethically so that you will learn good habits from observing how we live. We will work to subdue our anger and to learn good skills for resolving conflicts so that you will have good role models for this. We will smile, laugh, and share our affection so that you will feel comfortable doing the same.
You do not belong to us. You belong to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. You belong to all sentient beings in this universe. We want to enable you to share your love and talents with others and the world. Similarly, we also belong to the world, and we will take the love we have for you and spread it to all living beings everywhere, because love is not something that is limited in quantity. By loving you and loving each other, we will learn how to love all other beings as well.
You have come into this world with your own karma. We cannot control everything you do or everything that happens to you. We will do our best to nurture your positive predispositions and help subdue your negative ones. We will do our best to protect you, knowing that as much as we would like to, we cannot prevent you from ever experiencing suffering. You will learn through your own life experiences, and we will do our best to give you the skills to make wise decisions and to handle situations creatively and with kindness.
We will do our best to raise you so that you will be aware of your own Buddha nature—the basic purity of your mind that is your potential to become a fully enlightened being. The seeds of love, compassion, generosity, ethical discipline, patience, joyous effort, concentration, wisdom, and other wonderful qualities already exist in your mind. We will help you to cultivate this aspect of your Buddha nature too. We want you to have a self-confidence that is based not on transient, superficial factors, but on a deep awareness of your own inner goodness.
We know that we and you will make mistakes in life and that sometimes we will be in conflict. But realizing that all of us have this precious Buddha potential, we will still respect each other and do what we can to help each other.
We have given you this human body and pray that you will have a precious human life, one in which you not only meet the Dharma and fully qualified spiritual masters, but also have trust in the Three Jewels—the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha—and practice the Dharma.
The community welcomes the babies
Our new and dear Dharma friends in baby bodies,
We are delighted to welcome you to this life and to our Dharma community. Please know that you always have friends, teachers, and playmates here. Our community is a place where you can give and receive the Dharma, friendship, and help.
May you develop a kind heart in all that you do. May you realize the three principal aspects of the path—the determination to be free; the loving, compassionate bodhicitta; and the wisdom realizing reality. May you quickly attain enlightenment and be able to benefit all living beings.
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger.
Children’s aspirations for the parents
Homage to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions.
To my kind mother who kept me in her womb for many months. To my kind father who supported my mother physically and mentally. May my wish for my kind parents be fulfilled—that they don’t fall sick and that their lives be filled with joy and peace.
Right after I was born you warmed me with the heat of your body. You cleaned my runny nose, poop, and pee without disgust. You fed me and made sure I was safe. I wish that this good relationship between my parents and myself may increase.
As a baby, when I was thirsty, I didn’t know how to drink. When I was hungry, I didn’t know how to eat. When I was cold, I didn’t know how to put on clothes. When I was hot, I didn’t know how to take off my clothes. When I had a bug on my face, I didn’t know how to brush it away. I always turned to my parents for help. Now I know how to drink, eat, and do many other things. I won’t forget how my parents took care of me when I was little. I wish that I may always be ready to care for my parents when they need me.
My parents look at me with loving eyes, care for me with a compassionate heart, and call me sweet names. I wish to return the loving looks, the care, and the tender names.
Sometimes I have a bad temper, am moody, or greedy. Sometimes I nag and pester my parents and think only of myself. My parents are faced with the unpleasant task of having to discipline me, so that I will learn how to be a good member of society. I wish to be good-natured and appreciative of the kindness that surrounds me and to be kind to my parents and others in return.
Parents’ aspirations for the children
May these children live long, meet the Dharma, benefit others, and live a meaningful and fulfilling life. May they have good health physically and mentally. May they develop a kind and loving heart towards all living beings. May we help each other on the path to enlightenment in this and all future lives.
Chanting and blessing
Everyone chants the mantra of Chenrezig (the Buddha of Compassion)—om mani padme hum—visualizing Chenrezig above the head of each baby. Light flows from Chenrezig into the babies, purifying, protecting, and bringing all realizations of the path to enlightenment. While everyone is chanting, the leader blesses the babies by touching symbols of Buddha’s body, speech, and mind (Buddha image, sutra, and stupa or bell) to each baby’s head.
Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Buddha,
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.
May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.