Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Buddha's Five Remembrances

This morning I've been thinking about how much energy I spend in denying and avoiding reality, and in wishing that things were otherwise than they are. I credit my mystery practice with revealing the pervasiveness of my denial to me. And I don't feel bad about this discovery. (I'm very good at feeling bad.) Rather, it feels like a step on my path to self-understanding, self-acceptance, and freedom.

Food, the internet, sleep, depression, lying around the house, overwork, and worrying about doing things right: I use all of these things to hold reality at bay. No wonder I'm often exhausted.

In the June 2005 issue of Yoga Journal, which despite the date arrived yesterday in my mailbox, Frank Jude Boccio writes about the Buddhist practice of the Five Remembrances. Meditating on the remembrances - memorizing them, saying them to yourself daily, and noticing your reactions - can help remind us of what's real: impermanence and change.

Boccio recommends the version of the Five Remembrances offered by Thich Naht Hahn:

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 death.
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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A day does not pass w/o this coming to mind...I am sooooo very grateful to have learned of it at my first sesshin!