The Five Remembrances of Our Life
There are certain pains that we cannot escape in our lives as a human being. The sooner we recognise these unavoidable experiences, the more we learn to embrace life and be able to live peacefully with these inevitable events.
There is a quote from “Tuesday with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, “If you know how to die, you know how to live.”
The Five Remembrances can serve as a wonderful reminder for us not to run away or ignore these inevitable events in our lives. Then we can make use of every moment in our lives to cherish what we have, instead of worrying about what we will lose in the future. Here I would like to share with you the Five Remembrances from the teachings of the Buddha:
- 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 having 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 of 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 action. My actions are the ground on which I stand.
The Five Remembrances are not there to put us down; rather, it is served as a reminder for us not to see the impermanent as permanent. When we know that one day we have to let go of the things we cherish now, we learn to appreciate what we have more – our life, our loved ones, our job, our abundance, our friends, our family etc.
Here is a meditation exercise* for those of you who are ready to deepen your understanding of the Five Remembrances, and to train your eyes to see these impermanence events in your life:
The word in blanket on the right side is there to allow you to silently repeat after each breath.
- Knowing I will get old, I breathe in. Knowing I can’t escape old age, I breathe out. (Getting old; No escape)
- Knowing I will get sick, I breathe in. Knowing I can’t escape sickness, I breathe out. (Getting sick; No escape)
- Knowing I will die, I breathe in. Knowing I can’t escape death, I breathe out. (Dying; No escape)
- Knowing that the human species and our civilization will die, I breathe in. Knowing that our civilization cannot escape death, I breathe out. (Death of civilization; No escape)
- Knowing that one day I will have to abandon all that I cherish today, I breathe in. Knowing I can’t escape having to abandon all that I cherish today, I breathe out. (Abandoning what I cherish; No escape)
- Knowing that my actions are my only true belongings belongings, I breathe in. Knowing that I cannot escape the consequences of my actions, I breathe out. (Actions true Belongings; No escape)
- Determined to live my days deeply in mindfulness, I breathe in. Seeing the joy and the benefit of living mindfully, I breath out. (Living mindfully; Seeing joy)
- 8. Vowing to offer joy each day to my beloved, I breathe in. Vowing to ease the pain of my beloved, I breathe out. (Offering joy; Easing pain)
I hope this will help you as much as it helped me :-)