Thich Nhat Hanh on Embracing Reality, Five Remembrances

When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.
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 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.

The Plum Village Chanting, by Thich Nhat Hanh

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  1. The Five Remembrances are great tools to keep us focused on, and appreciative of, our present life. They are part of my memory and I run them through my mind frequently. I prefer to say “there is no way I can change my nature” rather than “there is no way to escape…” for the first two remembrances. This is only because I helped suicidal young people years ago. But that’s just me. I am sure the way TNH wrote them works fine for most people.
    My latest post “BIG ONES, small ones” was in a way prompted by the Five Remembrances.
    I love your blog. Thanks for making it available. I have read a lot of TNH and sat in sanghas run by two teachers certified by TNH. I’ve also listened to Tolle on downloads from and I have read some in Orthodox Christianity and I practice the Jesus Prayer off and on. So you can see why I’m comfortable on your blog! But mostly I enjoy your deep insight and your lovely way of expressing it.
    Also, when you commented on my blog I replied to your comment but I did so on my own blog. So since I don’t know if you saw it I’ll copy it here:
    Thank you Elena for visiting and for your kind words. I found your site by “accident” or “coincidence” (if such things exist!) and was enjoying your encouraging, uplifting writing. Very heartfelt and beautiful. Thanks for your posts.
    Furthur reflection on your post “Spiritual Journey all in a day’s work?” made me very appreciative of, and grateful for, all that my mother did for me many years ago, and for all that my wife did for our four kids, and for all that my oldest daughter is now doing for her 10 month old son. So the gratitude flows out in ever widening circles.


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