How To Live More Mindfully – The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing

The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing

The Order of Interbeing, Tiep Hien in Vietnamese, is a community of monastics and lay people who have committed to living their lives in accord with the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, a distillation of the Bodhisattva (Enlightened Being) teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.  They were formed by Thich Nhat Hanh in the mid- 1960s, at a time when the Vietnam War was escalating and the teachings of the Buddha were desperately needed to combat the hatred, violence, and divisiveness enveloping his country.  Today, there are more than four hundred members of the core community and many thousands of other worldwide who recite the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings regularly [1].

I share these with you today as I dedicate myself to become one of the many thousand who recite them regularly.  In fact, when I first read the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings in Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, the first thought that came to my mind was, “How might I put these onto a poster so that I may read them daily?!”  And then it got me thinking even further about making them a part of my morning ritual.  I figure the way you start your day will determine how the rest of the day will flow and reading these principles puts me into an incredibly clear and compassionate state of mind.  My belief is that they will do the same for you.

Below you will find The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing as outlined by Thich Nhat Hanh himself in Peace is Every Step.  As of the time of this writing, I don’t have the principles available on a poster format (sad face).  But, feel free to bookmark this page or print them out for your records (or design your own poster) and let them help guide you forward through the dark and trying times that we live in.  In a world full of anger, hate, greed, and suffering, I can’t think of a series of principles—even ones that date back to the mid-1960s—that are could be more relevant to us, today.  Enjoy!

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The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing:

1) Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology.  All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

2) Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth.  Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views.  Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints.  Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge.  Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

3) Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education.  However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

4) Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering.  Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in life of the world.  Find ways to be with those who are suffering, by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, and sound.  By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

5) Do no accumulate wealth while millions are hungry.  Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure.  Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

6) Do not maintain anger or hatred.  Learn to penetrate and transform them while they are still seeds in your consciousness.  As soon as anger or hatred arises, turn your attention to your breathing in order to see and understand the nature of your anger or hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger or hatred.

7) Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings.  Practice mindful breathing in order to come back to what is happening in the present moment.  Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing, both inside and around yourself.  Plant the seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.

8) Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break.  Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

9) Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people.  Do not utter words that cause division and hatred.  Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain.  Do not criticize or condemn things that you are not sure of.  Always speak truthfully and constructively.  Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

10) Do not use the religious community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party.  A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

11)  Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature.  Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live.  Select a vocation that helps realize your ideal of compassion.

12) Do not kill.  Do not let others kill.  Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.

13)  Possess nothing that should belong to others.  Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

14) Do not mistreat your body.  Learn to handle it with respect.  Do not look on your body as only an instrument.  Preserve vital energies for the realization of the Way.  Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment.  In sexual relationships, be aware of future suffering that may be caused.  To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others.  Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world.  Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.

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Comment:  How might you apply these principles to your life?  Will you join the community in reading these principles on a regular basis? Let us know in the comment section below!

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If you enjoyed this post you can find more quotes, resources, and info from the book below:

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

By: Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Overview: In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Post(s) Inspired by this Book:  13 Powerful Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes on Happiness, Anger, and Peace  ///  Focus on what’s going RIGHT – The Power of Mindfulness [VIDEO].  /// Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh  /// How to Handle Your Anger – A Mindfulness Exercise from Thich Nhat Hanh

Quotes from Book! Buy from Amazon!

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[1]  Source:  Order of Interbeing | Tiep Hien – Website

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