"The Five Mindfulness Trainings are the path we should follow in this era of global crisis because they are the practice of sisterhood and brotherhood, understanding and love, and the practice of protecting ourselves and protecting the planet. The mindfulness trainings are concrete realizations of mindfulness. They are nonsectarian, not bearing the mark of any religion, race, or ideology; their nature is universal. We always say that it's not necessary for people to call themselves Buddhist in order to practice the trainings. You can adopt them as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or as a French, Japanese, Chinese, or American person."
These are Thich Nhat Hanh's Five Mindfulness Trainings as adapted by Sacred Ground.
These trainings are the grounding of this church/sangha/spiritual community, but they are not commandments or rules. They can be taken as vows. They can be individually modified and challenged. They are meant to inspire reflection, consideration, and contemplation.
They are a modified version of the Five Buddhist Precepts which are ancient codes of conduct.
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, minerals, ecosystems, and our Mother Earth. 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, or in my way of life.
Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism within myself and in the world.
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivating loving-kindness toward all beings and practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power, and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair.
I am aware that my happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on our planet and help with the healing of our Mother Earth, the healing of our Earthen family, and the healing of ourselves.
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, communities, society, and myself. Knowing that sexual desire is not true love, and that sexual activity motivated solely by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends.
I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness – which are four of the basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace within myself; between myself and others; and among other people, ethnic, religious, racial, regional, and political groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope.
When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and mindful walking in order to recognize my anger and in order to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of my anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and in my lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and my lack of understanding of the suffering in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and to see the way out of difficult situations.
I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. When I speak of another person, I am committed to speaking of them as if they were present. I will practice Right Diligence - watering beneficial seeds and refraining from watering harmful seeds in myself, others, and the environment - in order to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform the violence, anger, fear, and anxiety that lie deep in my consciousness.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, my community, our society, our nation, and our Earth by practicing mindful eating, mindful drinking, and mindful consuming.
I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition or deep desires, and consciousness. I am aware that my choices and practices in the consumption of edible foods are not separate from my health and well-being, nor are they separate from the health and well-being of other people, animals, plants, minerals, ecosystems, and our Mother Earth. I am aware that the consciousness, sense impressions, and deep desires of others that I choose to take in and consume, feed and contribute to my consciousness, my sense impressions, and my deep desires. I am also aware that the consciousness, sense impressions, and deep desires that I choose to manifest in the world, feed and contribute to the consciousness, sense impressions, and deep desires of others, while also feeding and contributing to the collective consciousness, the collective sense impressions, and the collective desires of my family, my community, our society, our nation, and our Earth.
Therefore, I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, other drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain electronic games, social media, podcasts, websites, videos, movies, TV programs, books, magazines, and conversations. I am aware that to poison our bodies and our consciousness with these toxins is to betray our ancestors, our elders, our current society, our children, and our future generations.
Therefore, I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing, and nourishing elements within me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past, nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption.
I will contemplate interbeing, manifest the energy of compassion, and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and collective consciousness of my family, my community, our society, our nation, and our Mother Earth.