Fourteen Verses on Meditation

1. Like the two wings of a bird,

 the practices of stopping (Shamatha) and looking deeply (vipashyana)

 rely upon each other

 and belong together, side by side.

 

2. The practice of shamatha is to stop,  

so that I may recognize and touch,

nourish and heal,

settle down and concentrate. 

 

3. The practice of vipashyana is to look deeply

into the nature of the five skandhas,

so that I may develop understanding

and transform suffering.  

 

4. My breathing and my steps

enable me to generate the energy of mindfulness,

so that I can be aware of and touch

the wonders of life within and around me.

 

5. Calming body and mind,

receiving nourishment and healing,

protecting my six senses,

I maintain concentration. 

 

6. Looking deeply into the heart of reality  

to see the true nature of things,

practicing vipashyana enables me to let go

of everything I am searching for, my desires,  

and my fears.

 

7. Dwelling peacefully in the present moment,

 transforming habit energies  

 gives rise to understanding,

 freeing me from afflictions and pain 

 

 8. Impermanence is one with nonself

 Nonself is one with interdependent origination,  

 is one with emptiness, is one with conventional designation,

 is one with the middle way, is one with interbeing.

 

9. Emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness

 liberate me from suffering,  

 so that in my daily practice

 I am not caught in mere intellectual understanding.

 

10. Nirvana is nonattainment.

 Sudden or gradual enlightenment are not different. 

 True realization is to live in freedom

 right now in this moment.

 

11. The essential sutras, such as the

Discourses on the Full Awareness of Breathing and the Four  

Establishments of Mindfulness,

show me the path to transform body and mind,

step by step.

 

12. The Mahayana sutras and teachings

open many fresh, wide gateways  

allowing me to enter the depths of the stream

of meditation flowing from the Original Source of the

Buddha’s teachings.

 

13. Not discriminating

between the practice offered by the  

Tathagata and that of the ancestral teachers,

the Four Noble Truths perfectly interwoven

should serve as the foundation of an authentic transmission.

 

14. Supported by the Sangha Body

my practice flows easier,  

allowing me to swiftly realize

my great determination to love and understand all beings

 

Written by Thich Nhat Hanh 

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Sitting and watching our breath is a wonderful practice, but it is not enough. For transformation to take part, we have to practice mindfulness all day long, not just on our meditation cushion.
- Thich Nhat Hanh