Dear Still Water Friends,
We can intend to live more mindful, fulfilling lives, but without taking action in alignment with our intentions, transformation will remain a sweet but distant dream.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings offer a road map for living our intentions–alerting us to potential traffic jams and pointing out scenic routes that bring us home safe and sound.
“The Five Mindfulness Trainings are not commandments,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh in Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society. “They don’t come from an external god. They come from our own wisdom and insight. The insight they contain is the outcome of our practice of mindfulness and concentration. The trainings can be a joy, not something we have to do. It’s like when we refrain from polluting the planet or we refrain from eating too much meat, we don’t feel that we’re suffering because of it. In fact we feel that we’re very lucky to be able to consume and to live in such a way that makes a future for the planet a real possibility. If, with your practice of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, you feel that your understanding, loving kindness, and compassion have increased, then you can share your practice with others and in that way we can make the world better.”
This Thursday after our usual sitting and walking meditations, I will offer a second sitting practice which will include the Five Mindfulness Trainings. During the Dharma discussion afterward, we’ll focus on what most speaks to us about these trainings and how they’ve supported us in living our intentions. There will also be an opportunity for questions and answers about the Five Mindfulness Trainings Transmission Ceremony to be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014, in Oakton, Virginia.
I’ve included the Five Mindfulness Trainings below. Which parts most resonate with you? Which parts don’t? If you could re-write the Trainings using your own words, how would be different?
I hope you can join us this Thursday.
Registration is now open for three upcoming Still Water events:
And you are invited to participate in or attend a region-wide Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings Ceremony, Saturday, January 4, 2014, in Oakton, Va.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings
(Adapted by Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center, January 2012)
The First Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.
The Second Mindfulness Training: True Happiness
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to working in a way that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.
The Third Mindfulness Training: True Love
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy. I will cultivate loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness—which are the four basic elements of true love—for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Loving Speech and Deep Listening
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into its roots, especially in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to release the suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will make daily efforts in my speaking and listening to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Nourishment and Healing
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I take in edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to use alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will make every effort to consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and our Earth.