Five Mindfulness Trainings
in the morning
care of our anger
5 Mindfulness Trainings
The First Mindfulness
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction
of life, I am committed to cultivating 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, and in my way of life.
The Second Mindfulness
Aware of suffering caused by exploitation, social
injustice, stealing and oppression, I am committed
to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways
to work for the well-being of people, animals,
plants and minerals. I will practise generosity
by sharing my time, energy and material resources
with those who are in real need. I am determined
not to steal and not to possess anything that
should belong to others. I will respect the property
of others, but I will prevent others from profiting
from human suffering or the suffering of other
species on Earth.
The Third Mindfulness
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.
I am determined not to engage in sexual relations
without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve
the happiness of myself and others, I am determined
to respect my commitments and the commitments
of others. I will do everything in my power to
protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent
couples and families from being broken by sexual
The Fourth Mindfulness
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech
and the inability to listen to others, I am committed
to cultivating loving speech and deep listening
in order to bring joy and happiness to others
and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing
that words can create happiness or suffering,
I am determined to speak truthfully, with words
that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I
will not spread news that I do not know to be
certain and will not criticise or condemn things
of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering
words that can cause division or discord, or that
can cause the family or the community to break.
I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile
and resolve all conflicts, however small.
The Fifth Mindfulness
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 practising mindful eating, drinking
and consuming. I will ingest only items that preserve
peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness
and in the collective body and consciousness of
my family and society. I am determined not to
use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest
foods or other items that contain toxins, such
as certain TV programmes, magazines, books, films
and conversations. I am aware that to damage my
body or my consciousness with these poisons is
to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society
and future generations. I will work to transform
violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself
and in society by practising a diet for myself
and for society. I understand that a proper diet
is crucial for self-transformation and for the
transformation of society.
When we recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings
or chant the sutras, we practice taking refuge
in the three jewels. We practice Touching the
Earth to also show our gratitude to the Buddha,
the Dharma and the Sangha. Taking refuge is the
recognition and the determination to head towards
what is most beautiful, truthful, and good. Taking
refuge is also the awareness that one has the
capacity to understand and love.
The Buddha is the one who shows us the way in
this life. The Buddha is the historical person
who lived 2600 years ago and all of our ancestral
teachers who connect us to the Buddha. The Buddha
is also the awakened nature in all beings. Each
element in the universe that is showing us the
way of love and understanding, is the Buddha.
The open look of a child and the ray of sunshine
causing the flower to unfold her beauty also contain
the awakened nature.
The Dharma is the teachings of love and understanding.
The Dharma is the teachings of the historical
Buddha and his descendants in the form of discourses,
the commentaries and precepts that show us the
path leading to peace and deep insight, love and
understanding. The Dharma is all the elements
in our world and in our consciousness that guide
us on the path of liberation. The living Dharma
is contained in every corner of the universe.
The floating cloud is silently preaching about
freedom and the falling leaf is giving us a dharma
talk on the practice of letting go. Everytime
you breathe mindfully, walk mindfully or look
at another person with the eye of understanding
and compassion, you are giving a silent dharma
The Sangha is the community that lives in harmony
and awareness. Your teachers, your friends and
yourself are all elements of your Sangha. A path
in the forest might be a member of your Sangha
as well, supporting you on the path of transformation.
You can share your joys and your difficulties
with your Sangha. You can let go and relax into
the warmth and strength of your Sangha. The Sangha
is a river, flowing and bending with flexibility,
responding to the environment in which it is situated.
Taking refuge in the Sangha, we join in the stream
of life, flowing and becoming one with all of
our sisters and brothers in the practice. In the
setting of a Sangha, you find the practice easier
and much more enjoyable.
Our breathing is a stable solid ground that
we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal
weather- our thoughts, emotions and perceptions-
our breathing is always with us like a faithful
friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken
in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and
projects, we return to our breathing to collect
and anchor our mind.
We feel the flow of air coming in and going out
of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how
calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At
any time, while we are walking, gardening, or
typing, we can return to this peaceful source
We may like to recite:
“Breathing in I know that I am breathing
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”
We do not need to control our breath. Feel the
breath as it actually is. It may be long or short,
deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally
become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing
is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing
the energy of mindfulness into each moment of
Sitting meditation is like returning home to
give full attention to and care for ourself. Like
the peaceful image of the Buddha on the altar,
we too can radiate peace and stability. We sit
upright with dignity, and return to our breathing.
We bring our full attention to what is within
and around us. We let our mind become spacious
and our heart soft and kind.
Sitting meditation is very healing. We realize
we can just be with whatever is within us- our
pain, anger, and irritation, or our joy, love,
and peace. We are with whatever is there without
being carried away by it. Let it come, let it
stay, then let it go. No need to push, to oppress,
or to pretend our thoughts are not there. Observe
the thoughts and images of our mind with an accepting
and loving eye. We are free to be still and calm
despite the storms that might arise in us.
If our legs or feet fall asleep or begin to hurt
during the sitting, we are free to adjust our
position quietly. We can maintain our concentration
by following our breathing and slowly, and attentively
change our posture.
In between sessions of sitting meditation, we
practice Kinh Hanh, which is indoor walking meditation.
We take one step with each in-breath and each
out-breath. Aware of the Sangha around us, we
feel in harmony with the larger body. Everybody
is moving together, slowly, and mindfully.
We can find suggestions for guided meditations
in Thay’s book,"The Blooming of
a Lotus" or also from one of the Dharma
We should arrive five minutes before the meditation
period starts so that everyone is comfortably
seated before the bell is invited to formally
begin the session. We should not enter the hall
after the bell has been invited. If we are late
for sitting meditation, please remain outdoor
and enjoy walking meditation.
To participate in working meditation can be
a great happiness. It is an opportunity to engage
in the maintenance and care of our practice center
while enjoying our practice of mindfulness. When
we wash the cars, or turn the compost piles or
chop wood we stay mindful of our breathing and
the activity that we are doing. We speak only
when necessary and about the work at hand. We
can maintain a light and easy feeling as we work.
An environment that is quiet can make the work
more pleasant and enjoyable.
When we work in the garden we get in touch with
the plants and nourish our connection to the earth
we are living on. Sweeping and mopping the meditation
halls we see that we are already practicing to
calm our mind and body. Please, do not be in too
great of a hurry to get the job done. Our most
important contribution to the Sangha is to maintain
our practice of mindfulness.
Working Meditation links us to our everyday life,
both here and when we return home. As we are working
at our computer or preparing dinner for our family
or teaching a class, we can practice stopping,
calming and refreshing ourselves with our conscious
breathing. We can relax and smile at our co-workers
and pace ourselves to maintain a light and serene
state of being.
Eating a meal together is a meditative practice.
We should try to offer our presence for every
meal. As we serve our food we can already begin
practicing. Serving ourselves, we realize that
many elements, such as the rain, sunshine, earth,
air and love, have all come together to form this
wonderful meal. In fact, through this food we
see that the entire universe is supporting our
We are aware of the whole sangha as we serve
ourselves and we should take an amount of food
that is good for us. Before eating, the bell will
be invited for three sounds and we can enjoy breathing
in and out while practicing the five contemplations.
This food is a gift of the whole universe,the
earth, the sky and much mindful work.
May we eat in such a way so as to be worthy of
May we transform our unskillful states of mind
and learn to eat in moderation.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent
May we accept this food to realize the path of
understanding and love.
We should take our time as we eat, chewing each
mouthful at least 30 times, until the food becomes
liquefied. This aids the digestive process. Let
us enjoy every morsel of our food and the presence
of the dharma brothers and sisters around us.
Let us establish ourselves in the present moment,
eating in such a way that solidity, joy and peace
be possible during the time of eating.
Eating in silence, the food becomes real with
our mindfulness and we are fully aware of its
nourishment. In order to deepen our practice of
mindful eating and support the peaceful atmosphere,
we remain seated during this silent period. After
twenty minutes of silent eating, two sounds of
the bell will be invited. We may then start a
mindful conversation with our friend or begin
to get up from the table.
Upon finishing our meal, we take a few moments
to notice that we have finished, our bowl is now
empty and our hunger is satisfied. Gratitude fills
us as we realize how fortunate we are to have
had this nourishing food to eat, supporting us
on the path of love and understanding.
up in the morning
Waking up this morning I smile
knowing there are 24 brand new hours before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment,
and look at beings with eyes of compassion.
As we wake up in the morning and open
our eyes we may like to recite the above gatha.
We can start our day with the happiness of a smile
and the aspiration to dedicate ourselves to the
path of love and understanding. We are aware that
today is a fresh, new day, and we have 24 precious
hours to live.
Let us try to get up from bed right away after
following three deep breaths to bring ourself
into mindfulness. Let us not delay our waking.
We may like to sit up and gently massage our head,
neck, shoulders, and arms to get your blood circulating.
We might like to do a few stretches to loosen
our joints and wake up our body.Drinking a cup
of warm water is also good for our system first
thing in the morning.
Let us wash up or do what we need to before heading
towards the meditation hall. Allow ourself enough
time so we will not have to rush. Enjoy the dark
morning sky. Many stars are twinkling and greeting
us. Take deep breaths and enjoy the cool, fresh
air. As we walk slowly towards the hall, let the
morning fill our being, awakening our body and
mind to the joy of a new day.
care of our anger
Thay often compares our anger to
a small child, crying out to his mother. When
the child cries the mother takes him gently in
her arms and listens and observes carefully to
find out what is wrong. The loving action of holding
her child with her tenderness, already soothes
the baby’s suffering. Likewise, we can take
our anger in our loving arms and right away we
will feel a relief. We don’t need to reject
our anger. It is a part of us that needs our love
and deep listening just as a baby does.
After the baby has calmed down, the mother can
feel if the baby has a fever or needs a change
of diaper. When we feel calm and cool, we too
can look deeply at our anger and see clearly the
conditions allowing our anger to rise.
When we feel angry it is best to refrain from
saying or doing anything. We may like to withdraw
our attention from the person or situation, which
is watering the seed of anger in us. We should
take this time to come back to ourselves. We can
practice conscious breathing and outdoor walking
meditation to calm and refresh our mind and body.
After we feel calmer and more relaxed we can begin
to look deeply at ourselves and at the person
and situation causing anger to arise in us. Often,
when we have a difficulty with a particular person,
he or she may have a characteristic that reflects
a weakness of our own which is difficult to accept.
As we grow to love and accept ourselves this will
naturally spread to those around us.
To begin anew is to look deeply
and honestly at ourselves, our past actions, speech
and thoughts and to create a fresh beginning within
ourselves and in our relationships with others.
At the practice center we practice Beginning Anew
as a community every two weeks and individually
as often as we like.
We practice Beginning Anew to clear our mind
and keep our practice fresh. When a difficulty
arises in our relationships with fellow practitioners
and one of us feels resentment or hurt, we know
it is time to Begin Anew. The following is a description
of the four-part process of Beginning Anew as
used in a formal setting. One person speaks at
a time and is not interrupted during his or her
turn. The other practitioners practice deep listening
and following their breath.
1) Flower watering - This is
a chance to share our appreciation for the other
person. We may mention specific instances that
the other person said or did something that we
had admired. This is an opportunity to shine light
on the other’s strengths and contributions
to the sangha and to encourage the growth of his
or her positive qualities.
2) Sharing regrets - We may
mention any unskillfulness in our actions, speech
or thoughts that we have not yet had an opportunity
to apologize for.
3) Expressing a hurt - We may
share how we felt hurt by an interaction with
another practitioner, due to his or her actions,
speech or thoughts. (To express a hurt we should
first water the other person’s flower by
sharing two positive qualities that we have trully
observed in him or her. Expressing a hurt is often
performed one on one with another practitioner
rather than in the group setting. You may ask
for a third party that you both trust and respect
to be present, if desired.)
4) Sharing a long - term difficulty
& asking for support- At times we each have
difficulties and pain arise from our past that
surface in the present. When we share an issue
that we are dealing with we can let the people
around us understand us better and offer the support
that we really need.
The practice of Beginning Anew helps us develop
our kind speech and compassionate listening. Begin
Anew is a practice of recognition and appreciation
of the positive elements within our Sangha. For
instance, we may notice that our roommate is generous
in sharing her insights, and another friend is
caring towards plants. Recognizing others positive
traits allows us to see our own good qualities
Along with these good traits, we each have areas
of weakness, such as talking out of our anger
or being caught in our misperceptions. When we
practice “flower watering” we support
the development of good qualities in each other
and at the same time we help to weaken the difficulties
in the other person. As in a garden, when we “water
the flowers” of loving kindness and compassion
in each other, we also take energy away from the
weeds of anger, jealousy and misperception.
We can practice Beginning Anew everyday by expressing
our appreciation for our fellow practitioners
and apologizing right away when we do or say something
that hurts them. We can politely let others know
when we have been hurt as well. The health and
happiness of the whole community depends on the
harmony, peace and joy that exists between every
member in the sangha.
Together-ness is a practice. At
the practice center we have a unique opportunity
to live closely with friends from many different
countries and backgrounds. Together we form one
sangha body, connected by the practice of mindfulness.
With our collective energy of calming and looking
deeply, it is possible for us to support each
other on the path of transformation. This requires
cooperation, skillfulness and acceptance. To live
amongst each other, we need to cultivate understanding,
communication and a willing heart. Let us take
the time to get to know the people around us.
We have neglected our neighbors for too long.
Sharing our daily life we can encourage each
other with our practice and together build diligence
and solidity. Sharing a room with others is an
opportunity to develop understanding and compassion
for ourself and for those we live with. By being
mindful of the people we share a room with, we
can identify and appreciate their positive qualities,
creating an atmosphere of harmony. We know that
when the other person is happy, we are also happy.
We can show our respect to our roommates and
the space we share by helping to keep it neat
and clean. We try to be considerate of our roommates.
For example, we might like to ask first before
we open a window or light incense or turn on the
light, to make sure it will not bother our roommates.
In this way we can create a supportive environment
for practicing loving kindness through your words,
thoughts and actions.
The greatest gift we can offer our fellow practitioners
is our practice of mindfulness. Our smile and
our conscious breathing communicate that we are
trying our best to find peace within ourselves
and we hope to contribute to the peace in the
community as well. We should remember to keep
communication flowing and our happiness will flow