The Five Remembrances

Five Remembrances

1. I am of the nature to grow old.

There is no way to escape growing old. Think about someone you know and the changes you have seen him or her go through as they age. Think about yourself—growing from a baby to a child into a teenager and onto young adulthood to being a mature adult. Just observe that you keep the same body—but it gradually changes all of the time.

2. I am of the nature to have ill-health.

There is no way to escape having ill-health. Remember a time when you or a loved one has been sick—colds, flu, allergies, aches, pains, muscle strains, and injuries. Notice that frequently these transform naturally into well-being, and over time, into ill-health.

3. I am of the nature to die.

There is no way to escape death. Bear in mind—through personal experience or watching the news—that everyone, rich or poor, famous or unknown—at all different ages, leaves this earth at some point. This process is natural for all things on earth: "To everything there is a season under heaven."

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. Everything we encounter - family and friends, careers, beautiful possessions, and even our youthful, strong bodies — everything is of the nature to change.

5. My actions are my only true belongings.

I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand. Consider most important what you give to the world: your love, kindness, support and encouragement to others.

Adapted from The Heart of The Buddha’s Teachings, by Thich Nhat Hanh, page 124.