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mindful living

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair.

The Now Watch

Remind yourself to stay in the here and now with this watch, in Thich Nhat Hanh’s own calligraphy, which can be purchased from the bookshop at Blue Cliff Monastery. For more information, e-mail the bookshop at bookshop@bluecliffmonastery.org, or in Europe, e-mail itsnow@plumvillage.org.

Greeting-Our-Negative-Emotions Meditation

It is human for all of us to have negative emotions on a daily basis unless we are a seasoned mindfulness practitioner who knows how to prevent and transform them. Whenever a negative emotion arises, be it anger, despair, sadness, frustration, fear, or anxiety, repeat the following gatha (verse) silently to yourself for three to six in-breaths and out-breaths. Breathing in, I am aware of my anger/despair/sadness/frustration/fear/anxiety. Breathing out, I embrace my anger/despair/sadness/frustration/fear/anxiety.

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Standing-in-Line Meditation

In our daily lives, we often find ourselves having to wait in line. Sometimes we get irritated by the wait. It can be the checkout line at the supermarket, the security-check line at the airport, or the pickup line at our child’s school. Being in a line is a great opportunity to sneak in mindful breathing and refresh yourself. Breathing in, I use this time just for myself, to unite my body and mind. Breathing out, I feel refreshed.

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The Five Contemplations

  1. This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard, loving work.
  2. May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
  3. May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
  4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.

Screen-Time Alternatives

Researchers believe there are several possible ways that watching too much television could lead to weight gain. Sitting around and watching television may take the place of more physically demanding activities, so the “energy out” side of the energy balance equation goes down. Do you watch a lot of television to avoid boredom? To avoid communicating with your family members? Or to cope with stress? What other activities might you do instead?

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