Five Remembrances

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.”

 

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