The Five Remembrances

The Five Remembrances help us to embrace the realities of life. We all will grow old, get sick, and die. There is no escape.

When we contemplate them daily, we get a perspective on life that is skillful and wholesome.

Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation ImageMany versions exist. This version is from the Plum Village Chanting Book by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.

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

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

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

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are the nature to change.

There is no way to escape
being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

The fourth remembrance teaches us that everything is impermanent. This is one of the cornerstones of Buddhist thought.

Actually, Heraclitus taught that you can’t step into the same river twice. This was his expression of change and impermanence.

My friend, Sebastian, celebrated his continuation (birthday) day today and I offered him these words in celebration of life.

We should all take time each day to contemplate the five remembrances.

Which one gives you the most trouble? Please share.

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