This was offered by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Plum Village Chanting Book (Parallax Press, 1991):
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 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 actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Below are two English translations and the original Pali text of the “five remembrances”:
|1.||I am sure to become old; I cannot avoid ageing.||I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.||Jar?dhammomhi jara? anat?to….|
|2.||I am sure to become ill; I cannot avoid illness.||I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.||Vy?dhidhammomhi vy?dhi? anat?to….|
|3.||I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death.||I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.||Mara?adhammomhi mara?a? anat?to….|
|4.||I must be separated and parted from all that is dear and beloved to me.||I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.||Sabbehi me piyehi man?pehi n?n?bh?vo vin?bh?vo….|
|5.||I am the owner of my actions, heir of my actions, actions are the womb (from which I have sprung), actions are my relations, actions are my protection. Whatever actions I do, good or bad, of these I shall become their heir.||I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.||Kammassakomhi kammad?y?do kammayoni kammabandh? kammapa?isara?o ya? kamma? kariss?mi kaly??a? v? p?paka? v? tassa d?y?do bhaviss?m?….|
The Buddha advised: “These are the five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.”