The Thirteen Mindfulness Trainings comes from different sources. The last part of them (5) comes directly from the Five Precepts followed by all the Tibetan Buddhist schools (Sila). The first eight comes from the Tiep Hien Order founded in Vietnam during the war and which came from the Zen School of Lin Chi.
The idea is to recite the Mindfulness Trainings regularly so that we can review our behaviour and observe where we have not lived up to our aspirations. It is important that we observe rather than judge ourselves, so that gradually, without resistance, our lives become imbued with the qualities they represent.
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, I am determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help me learn to look deeply and to develop my understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill or die for.
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, I am determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. I will learn and practise non-attachment from views in order to be open to others’ insights and experiences. I am aware that the knowledge I presently possess is always changing and not an absolute truth. Truth is found in life and I will observe life within and around me in every moment, ready to learn throughout my life.
Aware of the suffering brought about when I impose my views on others, I am committed not to force others, even my children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt my views. I will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide.
Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help me develop compassion and find ways out of suffering, I am determined not to avoid or close my eyes before suffering. I am determined to be with those who suffer, so I can understand their situation deeply and help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace and joy.
Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidarity, freedom and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, I am determined not to take as the aim of my life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those around me in need, including my blood and spiritual family, my friends, my ancestors and my descendents.
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, I am determined to take care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognize and transform the seeds of anger that lie deep in my consciousness. When anger comes up, I am determined not to do or say anything, but to find the best way to ease my anger. I will learn to look with the eyes of compassion on those I think are the cause of my anger.
Aware that life is available only in the present moment and that it is possible to live happily in the here and now, I am committed to training myself to live deeply each moment of daily life. I will try not to lose myself in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or cravings, anger or jealousy in the present. I will practise mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. I am determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing and healing elements that are inside and around me, and by nourishing seeds of joy, peace, love and understanding in myself, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in my consciousness.
Aware that lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, I will make every effort to keep communications open and to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small. Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others from their suffering.
Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, I am committed to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. I am determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain nor criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure.
It is important to remember the four faults by the word:
Our speech must embody mindfulness and we must be completely aware and responsible while pronouncing words.
Try making your words wiser than the silence that has been broken.
I am committed to abstain from doing harm to any sensitive beings. This commitment implies the determination to respect the life of all beings, not only human beings but also all animals and plants, regardless of their size; and an increasing awareness of the sanctity of life. Moreover it means more than a respect for the sacredness of life since it means a commitment to neither harm nor offend anyone under any circumstances and to promote peace and peace education.
I am committed to abstaining from taking what has not been given to me. This commitment implies the respect for other beings’ property. It not only implies not to steal, but encourages us to cultivate the attitude of not to demand or claim what we wish, but to learn ways to work for the benefit of people, animals and plants, practicing generosity, sharing our time, energy and resources with those in need, and to patiently wait to receive the results of our good actions.
I am committed to abstain from the wrong use of my senses. This commitment implies contemplating our body as a temple that we take care of and cultivate for spiritual growth. What is advised here is to abstain from the disorderly use of the body, sexuality and body sensations, avoiding falling into gluttony, lust, incest and all kinds of disorders produced by inadequate sensory behavior.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to abstain from consuming items that cloud or blur the mind. It not only implies to abstain from alcohol and intoxicating drugs but to take care of the quality of information that we are consuming through all our senses, what are we reading, what we are seeing, who we are joining. We are aware that everything we consume will feed our mind and the collective mind of our family and society.