Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Five Contemplations’ Category

On Monday, August 31st, the Eno River Buddhist Community’s Monday evening program will focus on the Buddha’s teachings on the five themes for frequent reflection. In addition to the regular sitting and walking meditation periods, there will be a Dhamma talk on the five themes as well as time for guided reflection and sharing around this practice. As always, newcomers and visitors are welcome.

In Chapter 5 of The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, the Buddha recommends that all his followers, whether a woman or a man, a householder or a monastic, often reflect on these five themes:

  • ‘I am subject to aging; I am not exempt from aging.’
  • ‘I am subject to illness; I am not exempt from illness.’
  • ‘I am subject to death; I am not exempt from death.’
  • ‘I must be parted and separated from everyone and everything dear and agreeable to me.’
  • ‘I am the owner of my kamma [actions], the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do.’

(AN 5:57; modified from Bhikkhu Bodhi 2012)

The five themes for frequent reflection represents one of the many teachings in the early discourses which supports of the development of samatha (tranquility) and vipassanā (insight). By regularly bringing attention to these five themes, we incline the mind towards seeing things clearly as they actually are and towards the stilling and letting go of clinging.

One way to structure a practice of reflecting on the five themes would be to set aside a specific time each day to read and consider them. You might consider questions such as the following: How do the statements offered by the Buddha match your own experience? What are your responses as you consider each statement? Do they bring up particular feelings, thoughts, images, associations? What is the relationship between the fifth theme and the other four statements?

Please bring photographs if you wish – Those who wish are encouraged to bring some photographs of yourself that were taken at different ages to the August 31st session. We will use the photos to create a table display in support of the evening’s reflections.

The August 31st program will be led by Callie Justice who is one of the Eno River Buddhist Community’s program and practice leaders. Please feel free to contact Callie if you have any questions about the plan for this Monday evening session at justice.callie@yahoo.com.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

One of the suttas in the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha recommends that everyone contemplates these five facts frequently:

I am sure to become old; I cannot avoid ageing.

I am sure to become ill; I cannot avoid illness.

I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death.

I must be separated and parted from all that is dear and beloved to me.

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 the heir.

(Aṅguttara Nikāya 5:57)

On Monday, October 29th, the Eno River Buddhist Community will offer a program focusing on the Five Contemplations.  Those who wish are invited to bring something that symbolizes a personal connection with any of the contemplations.  The objects (photographs, keepsakes, etc.) will be placed in the center of the circle for the evening as reminders of the universality of the five facts we reflect upon together.

Here is a translation of the full sutta by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Read Full Post »