The Five Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old;

there is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health;
there is no way to escape having ill health.
I am of the nature to die;
there is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are of the nature of change;
there is no way to escape
being separated from them.
My deeds are my closest companions;
I am the beneficiary of my deeds.
my deeds are the ground
on which I stand…


These remembrances do deserve some attention. They add to the fallacy that Buddhism is considered nihilistic and depressing. I consider it neither of these.

Accepting the fact that you are at the mercy of natural forces need not be depressing and certainly not nihilistic. It simply states what is. These words make me closer to what I am and what I will be in the future. It prepares one for the inevitable; Death, Old Age, Change. No matter how many crazy deities you worship, these facts always remain the same. We are born, we age and we die. Loved ones will disappear as you will leave loved ones behind.

The traditional Buddhist literature never states that there is not a creator god.  It simply doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t change a damned thing. Pain, suffering and change still exist and still effect you. Arguing for or against one is also equally meaningless.  In fact, I can’t think of a greater mistake one can make than in putting stock into a creator god.  It is like walking into one massive festering illusion. 

You say you are praying to god but you are just looking into mirror and creating what you need.  It’s when you insist that everyone has the same illusionary reflection that you truly snuggle up to it. 

Accepting that it is a mirror is what a Buddhist begins with.  If all goes well, he admits that the mirror is illusionary as well.  

Easy to say, hard to accept.



2 thoughts on “The Five Remembrances

  1. NIce blog and nice post John. Hope to meet you soon. Finding Buddhists in Rapid City is a little like digging for fossils I guess LOL. You know they’re out there but you’re not sure how many or what kind.

  2. I think that is a good comparison and melding of science and buddhism. Also there is definitely a certain amount of mindfulness in the searching for ancient life either in the field or in the lab. I think “Zen and the Science of Paleontology” may be a good title for my memoirs. If there is any plan for a meeting of Theravada and the Mahayana groups of Rapid City, I would be interested. The Rapid City Meditation Group meets at times when I am usually working. I barely even make it to the Laughing Teabowl Zendo these days. I like the idea of meeting at Bully Blends once they start serving beer and wine. That way we have everything from tea to coffee to microbrews to sip and the atmosphere is very nice.

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