Baccalaureate Blessings

Jewish Tradition, Jeremy Fisher

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;

    4 through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.

    5 A wise man has great power,
and a man of knowledge increases strength;

    6 for waging war you need guidance,
and for victory many advisers.

     Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

    14 Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;
if you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

The Hindu Tradition, Aarjan Dixit

This is my prayer to thee, my lord — strike,
strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor
or bend my knees before insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

Unitarian Universalist Tradition, Jessica Dumas

On long journeys, I find the tools and maps I need
are tucked away beneath the surface of things, there,
in the crannies between rocks and in secret pockets
of land and my own heart; there, where mist curls
around the base of mountains and fog covers valleys
and in the sweet places where rivers run, a tumult of water
and sound; there, where I find green moss grows
and the heron lifts its wings and sacred trees stand

Where I have found levers, a compass, a sextant,
to guide me and scale the night sky, the horizon beckons
away from home to no place I have known,
yet the earth and its markings are familliar; the red clay
gashes forth from brown earth and the dim light glows.
I can measure my steps from here to there
in months and years and countless joys and pains,
the sorrows of parting from lovers and the songs of love aroused,
requited, and failed, a landscape that echoes the altitude of grief,
the latitude of learning, the longitude of love.

I have found my footsteps from years before, where I placed
my feet in climbing rocks or stood barefoot in sand,
the place where I held you, and where you touched me,
there in my heart, there on my face, there in my mind.
I could not bear the weight of such memories on my own
nor know how to transcribe them, but for the voices
of Chesapeake, Huron, and Genesee.
Somehow the rush of rivers circumscribes,
and waterfalls and oceans surround, the place where
I confront me.

In my knapsack of suede and blue, where I collect
such souvenirs as shells, stones, and feathers,
these unsettled tools of wisdom atop clothing and
notebooks and pens,
I carry something beyond the physical evidence of travel,
harboring the echo of voice and image of heart
that taught me to greive and allowed me to see
how hearts could merge and divide,
where a journey of many steps stopped with one movement,
a shift from love to acceptance, with no resolution.
I remain a witness to our joining, finding my path
Open with learning once grief is lost from the map of love.

Sikh Tradition, Sasha Malik

O mind, why do you think about your programs, when the Respected God is Himself engaged (in fulfilling your desires). God has created living beings in the rocks and stones,(and) He puts before them their sustenance.

O my Respected Lord of mammon! One, who joins the society of saints is saved.
By the grace of the Guru, he obtains the heavenly seat; even dry wood becomes green.

Neither mother nor father, nor others, nor son nor wife, supports anyone.
God sends sustenance to everyone, then why should you worry, o my soul?

They (flamingoes) come away after flying over hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind;
Who then feeds and teaches them to peck?
(The reply is:) Their remembrance (of God) in mind.

The Lord holds on the Palm of His Hand all the nine treasures and the eighteen supernatural powers.
Servant (Satguru) Nanak says,
I am devoted and dedicated to God; I am ever a sacrifice to You, Your limits are beyond description.

Buddhist Tradition, Ariel Rosenberg

At the foot of the Bodhi tree,
beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling,
the living source of understanding and compassion,
to the Buddha I go for refuge.

The path of mindful living,
leading to healing, joy, and enlightenment,
the way of peace,
to the Dhamma I go for refuge.

The loving and supportive community of practice,
realizing harmony, awareness, and liberation,
to the Sangha I go for refuge.

I am aware that the Three Gems are within my heart.
I vow to realize them.

I vow to practice mindful breathing and smiling,
looking deeply into things.
I vow to understand living beings and their suffering,
to cultivate compassion and loving kindness,
and to practice joy and equanimity.

I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning
and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon.
I vow to live simply and sanely, content with just a few possessions,
and to keep my body healthy.
I vow to let go of all worry and anxiety
in order to be light and free.

I am aware that I owe so much to my parents,
teachers, friends and all beings.
I vow to be worthy of their trust,
to practice wholeheartedly,
so that understanding and compassion will flower,
and I can help living beings be free from their suffering.
May the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha
support my efforts.

Christian Tradition, Jessica Edgerly

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have  done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for our time at Bates College, may it continue to be a lively center for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our humility and dependence on you alone.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know you and make you known; and at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.