Five Subjects for Contemplation
Since my birthday is coming up, I thought I would post the Upajjhatthana or the “Five Remembrances.” These are five subjects that all people (male and female, lay followers and monastics) should constantly bear in mind (abhinha-paccavekkhana).
1. Jaradhammata: I am subject to aging, I have not gone beyond aging.
2. Byadhidhammata: I am subject to pain and illness, I have not gone beyond pain and illness.
3. Maranadhammata: I am subject to death, I have not gone beyond death.
4. Piyavinabhavata: I will grow different, I separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.
5. Kammassakata: I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.
The first three remembrances are antidotes to the “threefold pride” of youthfulness (yobbana-mada), health (ārogya-mada) and life (jīvita-mada). The fourth contemplation is to weaken or overcome lust (rāga); and, the fifth contemplation is to weaken or overcome irresponsibility embodied in improper (duccarita) acts, speech and thoughts.
“Subject to birth, subject to aging, subject to death, run-of-the-mill people are repelled by those who suffer from that to which they are subject. And if I were to be repelled by beings subject to these things, it would not be fitting for me, living as they do. As I maintained this attitude — knowing the Dhamma without paraphernalia — I overcame all intoxication with health, youth, & life as one who sees renunciation as rest. For me, energy arose, Unbinding was clearly seen. There’s now no way I could partake of sensual pleasures. Having followed the holy life, I will not return.” – Upajjhatthana Sutta