The Five Remembrances of Buddhism have been a powerful practice for me for a very long time. I’ve blogged about my experiences with them, both in personal practice and in group practice as well as with the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center. Reciting the Five Remembrances is a traditional practice across Buddhist traditions that speaks powerfully to impermanence, the inevitability of death, and how the only certainty we carry with us is the results of our actions of body, speech, and mind, which give them paramount importance in our lives:
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 having 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 of change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My deeds are my closest companions.
I am the beneficiary of my deeds.
My deeds are the ground on which I stand.
I find these last lines extremely empowering and a powerful motivation to make choices based on wisdom and compassion, instead of fear, anger, or greed. This year, when negative emotions have swirled powerfully and constantly around and through me, I felt that I needed a visual reminder of the Five Remembrances to hang on my bedroom wall, where I could see it each morning and evening. I wanted a physical touchstone that combined color and design with the powerful words.
I represented the relative ‘length’ of the seasons as I typically experience them here in Maryland by varying the amount of each primary colors in the outer border to correspond with: short winter, interrupted spring, long summer, and long autumn.