"A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus:
1. I am subject to old age; I am not exempt from old age. 2. I am subject to illness; I am not exempt from illness. 3. I am subject to death; I am not exempt from death. 4. I must be parted and separated from everyone and everything dear and agreeable to me. 5. I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do".
These Recollections carry such depth, both intellectually and experientially speaking.
May this be of help to anyone reading this.
(Apologies for my grammar, English is not my first language. I do try to improve it daily).
Anyone saying the Five Daily Recollections is certainly making a wholesome effort to do better.
I currently say them to help me stay focused when there are thoughts trying to drag the past to the present which of course isn’t useful or wholesome to any being. All part of stilling the mind so reality can be seen for what it actually is in time.
This was one of the first things from the Suttas I ever came across and it was so simple and so truthful to my own experience that it was extremely impactful and is something I say to myself every day still over 10 years later.
as for the Kamma one, think about it in terms of the context of the times, among people who believed that you could go up and down the Ganges slaying people until there are huge piles of body and the actions wouldn’t matter. I take this as the Buddha exhorting us to always remember our actions matter and have consequences,both for you and others, in this life and the next.
Reason why I mention this was from my Sri Lankan experience.
Many people handover all their experience to Kamma and do nothing to improve themselves.
I see this as the holding the snake in its tail instead of the neck.
It is important we see the kamma in its proper perspective.
The Five Daily Recollections is one of the passages from the suttas that I know by heart and recite to myself early in the morning as part of my daily routine (though I use a slight different translation). IMO it’s good to remind myself first thing that time is limited, life is uncertain, and of the importance of morality.
Correct- as a slight departure however, I think it is possible to do it excessively so that there is no added benefit visible, and sometimes can lead to a excessively negative take on existence- a sort of creating dukkha where none existed to begin with. I hope I’m making sense here. So IMO it is one of those practices which need to handled carefully (the reaction obviously varies from person to person).
I know what you mean. I’m not a terribly pessimistic person (tend in the opposite direction in fact), so a somewhat stark reminder like that works for me. I suppose the usefulness can depend on the personality type!