FIVE TRAININGS FOR MINDFULNESS
The other day Hilary in Mississippi sent me the link to a website for a Buddhist Center near Memphis, in Batesville, Mississippi. Reading over the teachings of the Center's teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, I was touched deeply, as I always am when reminded of Buddhism's core teachings.
I have seen that Buddhism in many places has degenerated into a religion where people pray to Buddha statues, asking for Devine intervention in their daily lives. However, it seems to me that Buddhism in its purest form is not a religion, but rather an insight or philosophy.
On the Center's webpage "The Five Mindfulness Trainings" are described:
- The first reads, "Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals."
- The second, as if patterned upon Nature's recycling of resources, says, "I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those in real need."
- The third, as if patterned upon the interdependency of all Nature's components, says, "I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society."
- The fourth, as if recognizing the joy arising from knowing and living by the Laws of Nature, says "I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope."
- The fifth, as if recognizing the pain and destruction caused to Life on Earth by consumption-oriented societies requiring cut forests, stripmined land and the release of so much carbon into the air reads "Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming."
These teachings are ecologically sound. They are sustainable. They are harmonious with patterns expressed in the fabric and structure of Nature. The teachings are not inert commandments handed down from above, but rather invitations to sensitize, and then change ourselves once we understand things more clearly -- to evolve to higher levels of being, as Nature always has evolved.