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Five Contemplations

VastmindVastmind VeteranMemphis, TN Veteran

Here is one of the most important as well as practical ways – known as the “Five Contemplations” that the Buddha teaches for both men and women and laity and monks. The five contemplations in the Word of the Buddha are:

1) I am sure to become old, I cannot avoid aging,
2) I am sure to become ill, I cannot avoid illness,
3) I am sure to die, I cannot avoid death,
4) I must be separated and departed from all that is dear and beloved to me,
5) I am the owner of my actions, heir of my actions, actions are the womb (from which I am sprung), actions are my relations, actions are my protection. Whatever actions I do good or bad, of these I shall become the heir.

The Buddha then enumerates systematically the reasons why a person should contemplate on these five facts of life....

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/on-the-five-constant-contemplations

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.057.than.html

personJeffreyBunkslobsterShoshinKeromeDavidadamcrossley

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    It is true.
    ... but I don't find it helpful (once accepted)
    Thought I might modify before ageing, illness and death claim another crusty:

    1) I am sure to become youthful in mind. Childlike iz plan! 👼🏽
    2) I am sure to become fit. I can practice wellness 🥳
    3) I am sure to live, spread the live/love 💗
    4) I am sure to be separated and departed. Bags are packed. 🙋🏼‍♂️
    5) I am the owner of my actions, heir of my actions, actions are the womb (from which I am sprung), actions are my relations, actions are my protection. Whatever actions I do good or bad, of these I shall become the heir. Well yeah ... duh! 💁‍♀️

    Tsk, tsk ... I iz such useless Buddhist :p Have I gone wrong again?🤷🏼‍♂️

    KeromeVastmindpegembaraadamcrossley
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 8

    Thanks for bringing it up @Vastmind, I enjoy reading a new Sutra every once in a while to examine how it fits into my life. So this was interesting.

    Reading the access to insight text on why one should contemplate these facts of life, the Buddha advocates them as an antidote to intoxication with youth and passion, so avoiding bad behaviour, and as a way towards dropping the fetters.

    It actually reminds me a lot of the Tibetan nine-point contemplation on death, that is also a similar series of unavoidable points, which I return to every so often. But it’s not something I have a great deal of difficulty with.

    The five contemplations are part of the whole Buddhist path, they are in a way quite core because they are close to what motivated the Buddha to go on his search for enlightenment, but I find it difficult to move away from life and cheerfulness and playfulness. I am not sure if that is the intoxication that the Buddha talks about, but as long as one lives with consideration for others and kindness, then surely bad behaviour can be avoided. So is it not just as good to practice those things?

    I’m not sure how that gels with dropping the fetters, but I suspect it happens naturally.

    Vastmindadamcrossley
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster it seems you agree with Osho, I have to say I think you would be well suited to life as a neo-sannyasin...

  • VastmindVastmind Veteran Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 8

    @lobster ... you iz a burtiful Buddhist 📿👊🏻 . Don’t let anybody tell you different 🙃

    Kerome
  • VastmindVastmind Veteran Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 8

    @Kerome That's why I appreciate lobsters post so much...the other side of the coin, so to speak. The Middle way. :) Those contemplations are important, however, not to stew on them so much that Nihilism rears it's ugly head or you get into your own thoughts too much. Life is about living...joyfully, most of the time, I think...but if you are totally clueless or in denial about those truths, or don't meditate on them once in awhile then delusions take over and then a domino effect...

    personlobsterpegembara
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Agreed @Vastmind it is often what you feel about a sutra that tells you what you are deep down thinking about it’s message. If you feel it’s nihilism then maybe there is an error in how you receive the message and it is useful to talk about it with others or a teacher.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I find these contemplations a bit depressing, and not very inspiring. Is it just me?

  • VastmindVastmind Veteran Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 9

    What do you want to be inspired to do? It should inspire you to live life to the fullest bec it goes for sure. And...inspire you watch your your behavior bec that makes a difference. Maybe, inspire you to be more in the moment and enjoy what you have now while you have it. No? .....Did you read the whole thread?

    personlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @DairyLama said:
    I find these contemplations a bit depressing, and not very inspiring. Is it just me?

    No there are others like the Buddha who are not always inspiring, a bit depressive and just-me types ... :p

    I iz naughty >:)

    Kerome
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited November 10

    I see you still have those lobster claws out.

    Shoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Old age, illness, death... for some reason today I am contemplating on them. I don’t fear them, in a way they feel like old friends, the realities of having a physical body. It is just discomfort, and adapting to change. Maybe I am feeling a little morose.

    adamcrossley
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    edited November 11

    1) I am sure to become old, I cannot avoid aging,
    2) I am sure to become ill, I cannot avoid illness,
    3) I am sure to die, I cannot avoid death,
    4) I must be separated and departed from all that is dear and beloved to me,

    There is the 1st Noble Truth which is to be fully understood.

    "Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress: Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

    And the "escape" ie. the 3rd NT.

    "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.

    "The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — discerns what ideas are fit for attention and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention.

    "This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html

    The "method".

    "But whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food... for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedfully. They develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.

    "Therefore you should train yourselves: 'We will dwell heedfully. We will develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.' That is how you should train yourselves."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an06/an06.019.than.html

    When this was said, the Blessed One addressed the monks. "Whoever develops mindfulness of death, thinking, 'O, that I might live for a day & night... for a day... for the interval that it takes to eat a meal... for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up four morsels of food, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal' — they are said to dwell heedlessly. They develop mindfulness of death slowly for the sake of ending the effluents.

    ShoshinlobsterVastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The contemplations are also said to be good for developing motivation, to help move you towards ending suffering.

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