"In Plum Village we sincerely invite and request every brother or sister in our own hamlet whether they are elder or younger to shine light on us. They not only point out our shortcomings but tell us first of all what we have excelled in. Then, they offer us concrete practices to maintain and increase our good qualities while transforming what is unwholesome. We also receive a letter that we can read to encourage us in our practice and to remind us of what we need to transform.
Before each session of Shining Light we read the following letter out loud for the entire Sangha to reflect upon and to help maintain an atmosphere of mutual love and respect.
Dear Lord Buddha and all our Ancestral Teachers:
Today we will shine light on the practice of our elder brothers and sisters and our younger brothers and sisters. We know that all of us are the various parts of one Sangha body and that we are the bones and flesh of the same Sangha body. Knowing this, we are aware that in shining light on the practice of any one member of the Sangha we are shining light on our own practice. We vow to do the practice of shining light with all our love and understanding. We vow that everything we say will stem from the wholesome intention of reaching as accurate an insight as we can about our brother or sister and of offering concrete suggestions of practice that will help our brother or sister in the process of true transformation. We vow to avoid allowing our anger and misperceptions distort our views. We vow that every word spoken will be from a place of love within us.
We know that in shining a light on a member of the Sangha, we are also shining a light on our own being. Thus, the practice of Shining Light will also be very beneficial for each and every one of us. We ask Lord Buddha and all our spiritual ancestors to protect and support us so that this Shining Light session will be a great success."