Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Five Remembrances

The Five Remembrances
Offered by Thich Nhat Hanh 

1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to
escape growing old.

2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no
way to escape ill health.

3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to
escape this.

4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of
the nature to change. There is no way to escape
being separated from them.

5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot
escape the consequences of my actions. My
actions are the ground upon which I stand.

I think these should be posted on all my walls in my home. We might wonder why they came to be known as "the five remembrances"? Well, I'm no Buddhist scholar but the fact that we live (then again, I can't speak for the group) our lives constantly forgetting these very precious facts seems reason enough for me. 

I work in an environment everyday which brings the first four of these remembrances to me constantly. I consider that fact a gift to me.

I remember contemplating the death of my children several years ago during my morning quiet time. That experience caused me to take very deep breaths and to inhale this life in a more conscious way. Nothing is permanent! Recognizing this impermanence and always living in a way of "knowing" we will have to let go of everything we love one day, simply makes the food of life before us richer, tastier, more precious. 

This is not morbid thinking. This is waking up! 

As the evening Gatha so plainly states:

"Let me respectfully remind you, life and death are of supreme importance. 
Time swiftly passes by, and opportunity is lost. 
Let us awaken, awaken. 
Take heed, do not squander your life."