Many of us are hoping that the Age of Aquarius will bring an enlightened new future after 2150 years of the Piscean Age, and Pluto entering Aquarius is likely to give this a kick-start. There is plenty of bad news surrounding Pluto’s entry into Aquarius and transforming the realms of technology and science (Russia threatening nuclear war, the threat of artificial intelligence taking over), but Aquarius is also the sign of awakening and community.
Yesterday I watched a beautiful biography of Thich Nhat Hahn, the late Vietnamese Buddhist monk, in which he called for ” a real awakening, a real enlightenment. New laws and policies are not enough. We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things.” To support this awakening he has offered a framework of five mindfulness trainings to reflect on actions, thought and speech to create more happiness and peace in the world around us. I have reprinted them here for you but you may want to read them in the original, linked here. “If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.”
Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and 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.
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 practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and stop contributing to climate change.
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 mutual consent, true love, and a deep, long-term commitment. I resolve to find spiritual support for the integrity of my relationship from family members, friends, and sangha with whom there is support and trust. 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 interrelated, I am committed to learn appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and to cultivate the four basic elements of true love – loving kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness – for the greater happiness of myself and others. Recognizing the diversity of human experience, I am committed not to discriminate against any form of gender identity or sexual orientation. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
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 my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found 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 transform 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 practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
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 consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, 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 contemplate interbeing and 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 the Earth.
This is powerful. Thank you for sharing.
You’re very welcome MK. ❤️
Thich Nhat Hanh was a spiritual advisor and friend to Martin Luther King Jr. and clearly influenced his approach to living and social change. Two giants that changed us for the better. 1966 joint statement
“We believe that the Buddhists who have sacrificed themselves, like the martyrs of the civil rights movement, do not aim at the injury of the oppressors but only at changing their policies. The enemies of those struggling for freedom and democracy are not man. They are discrimination, dictatorship, greed, hatred and violence, which lie within the heart of man. These are the real enemies of man—not man himself.
We also believe that the struggles for equality and freedom in Birmingham, Selma and Chicago, as in Hue, Danang and Saigon, are aimed not at the domination of one people by another. They are aimed at self-determination, peaceful social change, and a better life for all human beings. And we believe that only in a world of peace can the work of construction, of building good societies everywhere, go forward.
We join in the plea, written June 1, 1965, by Thich Nhat Hanh in a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Do not kill man, even in man’s name. Please kill the real enemies of man which are present everywhere, in our very hearts and minds.’”
ah thank you Lyn, your message is so timely. I m a follower of Thich Nhat Hanh and the reminder of his teachings never gets old especially in this turbulent times in our human history. Than you for your inspired weekly sharing and messages. Suzanne
You’re so welcome Suzanne. 💖 I’m always glad to hear that these Sunday posts are enjoyed by others!
Yes the messages was so timely as Suzanne mentions. And so enormously helpful today when the weight of the world and the devision in our precious country so painful. These words of direction and healing are centering. Thank you.