Nancy let the sangha in using the Five Recollections as a way of examining the question of our karma. ” The Buddha recommended that every person should recollect these five facts every day. They are well known to us, but we like to forget them . We like to pretend that these five experiences do not really exist…
The five recollections are these (in English and Pali)
Five Subjects for Frequent Recollection
Handa mayaṃ abhiṇha-paccavekkhaṇa-pāthaṃ bhaṇāma se:
Let us now recite the passage for frequent recollection:
Jarā-dhammomhi jaraṃ anatīto.
I am subject to aging. Aging is unavoidable.
Byādhi-dhammomhi byādhiṃ anatīto.
I am subject to illness. Illness is unavoidable.
Maraṇa-dhammomhi maraṇaṃ anatīto.
I am subject to death. Death is unavoidable.
Sabbehi me piyehi manāpehi nānā-bhāvo vinā-bhāvo.
I will grow different, separate from all that is dear & appealing to me.
Kammassakomhi kamma-dāyādo kamma-yoni kamma-bandhu kamma-paṭisaraṇo.
I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and live dependent on my actions.
Yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmi.
Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.
Evaṃ amhehi abhiṇhaṃ paccavekkhitabbaṃ.
We should often reflect on this.
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A video of this chant of the five contemplations can be found at
This is a contemplation and not a meditation…
In meditation we try to focus and become on-pointed on the meditation subject, so that the mind eventually becomes very calm, serene and one-pointed, and gains power and strength, in order to realize insights.
In contemplation we take one subject which is a universal fact, not an individual problem, and see how it applies to us. We try to see how we react to that universality. Only our own reaction imbues the fact with importance to us.”
Nancy also used a guided meditation I read comes from Ayya Khema. (1991) When the Iron Eagle Flies: Buddhism for the West (pp 33 – 36). London, England: ARKANA, Penguin Books Ltd. pp.34 – 36.