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      Four Reminders

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Four Reminders

This is the first of a series of four short essays about The Four Reminders, which are short, pith instructions for Buddhists to keep in mind on a daily basis.

Keeping the four reminders foremost in mind, enables us to set our intention on a positive approach to our daily life.


Itís a good practice to do first thing in the morning but can be done anytime during the day. Even while waiting in that long check out line, especially during the holidays.

First Reminder:

The first reminder is to reflect on our precious human birth. According to a story by the Buddha, the likelihood of being born and having a precious human birth is rare. He likens it to a sea turtle, who surfaces the vast ocean once every hundred years and just so happens to surface into the opening of an inner tube.

Winning the lottery might be easier.

In any case, this particular reminder helps us to embrace our lives. To see that we are born in an era where the dharma (Buddhist teachings) are available.

But, in truth, any tradition that you follow would work as well. Just be thankful not only that it is available but that you are open to receiving the teachings.

It further reminds us that we are intelligent, that we are able to read and listen and that have been born with circumstances that give us a bit of free time to follow our path.

Perhaps the most important part of this reminder is to be thankful for our precious human birth. To not get caught up with the possible day to day upsets with the traffic, the water cooler gossip or the fact that you might have burned the breakfast toast.

The important thing is that you recognize that you are alive. The you are taking this opportunity to not get caught up in the ultimately mundane parts of life. Caught up and stressed by what to wear, how you might not have the latest fashion or that your bank account is less than you might wish.

But, instead walk happily through your day, knowing you are appreciative of being alive and walking on your chosen path towards waking up.

For, who knows if next time youíll be so lucky to find that innertube in the ocean. Take advantage of THIS life. Today.

The Second Reminder: Impermanence and Death

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Copyright 2011 This article may not be reprinted or published without permission from Emily Gems.

No claims are made. These alleged powers are gathered from writing, books, folklore and various sources.