The Five Mindfulness Trainings

Introduction

The Five Mindfulness Trainings are guidelines for an open-hearted response to life’s challenges and for caring for our world. They are also doors that open to peace, joy, and freedom. Based on the insight of interbeing — the dynamic and supportive interdependence of all things — the trainings express the realization that our suffering is not separate from the suffering of others, and that our happiness is not separate from the happiness of others.

Aware that all actions originate in the mind, the trainings invite us to embody understanding and compassion in our thinking, speaking and acting. They are to be practiced with compassion, skill and flexibility, conscious that our understanding is still developing, and that circumstances may call for new insights and ways of acting. Each time we practice a training, we offer a priceless gift to the world and to ourselves.

1) Respect for Life

Aware of the suffering caused by lack of respect for life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and the Earth. Knowing that harmful actions arise from incomplete understanding, I am committed to developing my insight into the nature of reality. I will practice recognizing and transforming mental states that cloud awareness, such as fear, anger, intolerance and dogmatism. I am committed to practicing non-attachment to views and will listen with an open mind to those who hold perspectives different from my own. I will also try to understand and enter into dialogue with those who seek to impose their views through means such as war, fanaticism, or terror. Aware that I harm myself when I harm living beings and the Earth, I am determined to reduce suffering and nourish in my community respect for the diversity and preciousness of all life.

2) Generosity and Justice

Aware of the suffering caused by self-centeredness and greed, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thoughts, words, and actions. Knowing that true happiness comes from caring for myself and others, and not from the pursuit of wealth, fame, or power, I will live a simple sustainable life and practice joy on the path of service. I am determined to take only what is freely given and I will choose the products I buy and use with awareness of their impact on other beings and our precious Earth. I am committed to finding ways to stand with and share my resources with those who are in need. I will work with others to create just and generous societies.

3) Cultivating Loving Relationships

Aware of the suffering caused by the unmindful use of sexual energy, I am committed to cultivating responsibility, and learning ways to promote loving and respectful relationships. I will generate joy, kindness, compassion, and inclusiveness, in myself and others—these are the foundation of true love and intimacy. Knowing that sexual activity motivated by craving harms myself and others, I will be mindful of the source of my desires. I am aware that sexual energy is sacred and at the base of all life. I will learn appropriate ways to express my sexual energy or to transform it into the energies of service and spiritual growth. If I choose to engage in a sexual relationship, I will do so only when there is love, mutual respect, and a commitment to deepen the relationship. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I will be mindful of the consequences of my actions, and I will respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will work to create a world in which every child, woman, and man is loved and protected, where there is tolerance and compassion, and in which there is reverence and support for both non-sexual and sexual relationships of love and respect.

4) Compassionate Listening and Loving Speech

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen, I am committed to cultivating compassionate listening and truthful loving speech, in order to bring happiness to myself and others. I am determined to listen with my heart, recognizing the suffering of myself and others, and to speak truthfully and kindly. I will look into the sources of my views, so that my thoughts and words are not distorted by wrong perception or strong emotions. I will choose words that inspire compassion, confidence, and joy. I will endeavour to resolve all conflicts, however small. I am committed to working for peace and reconciliation in my family, community, nation, and the global society.

5) Nourishing Peace and Joy

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to looking deeply into the consequences of what I eat, drink, use, purchase, and allow into my consciousness. Knowing that everything I consume has the potential of nourishing happiness or suffering, I am committed to consuming only items that nourish well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant. Rather than seeking to escape unpleasant feelings by losing myself in entertainments or other distractions, I will practice recognizing, embracing, and transforming the perceptions and memories that give rise to my unhappiness and cravings. I will breathe and walk mindfully so that I am able to touch the many wonders of life that are always available.