In gratitude, I bow to all generations of ancestors in my blood family.
I see my mother and father, whose blood, flesh, and vitality are circulating in my own veins and nourishing every cell in me. Through them I see my four grandparents. I carry in me the life, blood, experience, wisdom, happiness, and sorrow of all generations. I open my heart, flesh, and bones to receive the energy of insight, love, and experience transmitted to me by my ancestors. I know that parents always love and support their children and grandchildren, although they are not always able to express it skillfully because of difficulties they encounter. As a continuation of my ancestors, I allow their energy to flow through me, and ask for their support, protection, and strength.
In gratitude, I bow to all generations of ancestors in my spiritual family.
I see in myself my teachers, the ones who show me the way of love and understanding, the way to breathe, smile, forgive, and live deeply in the present moment. I see the Buddha or Christ or the patriarchs and matriarchs as my teachers, and also as my spiritual ancestors. [...] I open my heart and my body to receive the energy of understanding, loving kindness, and protection from the Awakend Ones, their teachings, and the community of practice of many generations. I vow to practice to transform the suffering in myself and the world, and to transmit their energy to future generations of practitioners. My spiritual ancestors may have had their own difficulties and not always been able to transmit the teachings, but I accept them as they are.
In gratitude, I bow to this land and all of the ancestors who made it available.
I see that I am whole, protected, and nourished by this land and all the living beings that have been here and made life worthwhile and possible for me through all of their efforts. I see Chief Seattle, Thomas Jefferson, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the others known and unknown. I see those who have worked hard to build schools, hospitals, bridges, and roads, to protect human rights, to develop science and technology, and to fight for freedom and social justice. I see myself touching my ancestors of Native American origin who have lived on this land for such a long time and know the ways to live in peace and harmony with nature, protecting the mountains, forests, animals, vegetation, and minerals of this land. I feel the energy of this land penetrating my body and soul, supporting and accepting me. I vow to cultivate and maintain this energy and transmit it to future generations. I vow to contribute my part in transforming the violence, hatred, and delusion that still lie deep in the consciousness of this society so that future generations will have more safety, joy, and peace. I ask this land for its protection and support.
In gratitude and compassion, I bow down and transmit my energy to those I love.
All the energy I have received I now want to transmit to my father, my mother, everyone I love, and all who have suffered and worried because of me and for my sake. I know I have not been mindful enough in my daily life. I also know that those who love me have had their own difficulties. They have suffered because they were not lucky enough to have an environment that encouraged their full development. [...] I want all of them to be healthy and joyful. I pray that all ancestors in my blood and spiritual families will focus their energies toward each of them, to protect and support them. I am one with those I love.
In understanding and compassion, I bow down to reconcile myself with all those who have made me suffer.
I open my heart and send forth my energy of love and understanding to everyone who has made me suffer, to those who have destroyed much of my life and the lives of those I love. I know now that these people have themselves undergone a lot of suffering and that their hearts are overloaded with pain, anger, and hatred. [...] I pray that they can be transformed to experience the joy of living, so that they will not continue to make themselves and others suffer. I see their suffering and do not want to hold any feelings of hatred or anger in myself toward them. I do not want them to suffer. I channel my energy of love and understanding to them and ask all my ancestors to help them.
Excerpted from The Five Earth Touchings by Thich Nhat Hanh.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What do the five prayers bring up for you? Can you share a personal story of a time a prayer deeply touched you? What helps you cultivate gratitude toward all?
Prayers open up my heart to receive blessings from others that include my ancestors, my parents, my other family members, friends, teachers and even those who have hurt me. I have learned priceless life lessons from such a wide circle of people in my life. And how can I forget blessings that I receive everyday from nature? I feel deeply grateful to all of them for taking care of me, loving me, and teaching me how to live and be connected.
There have been two difficult things for me to be grateful for. One: When I have acted selfishly and expected somebody to fulfill my needs and when my needs are not taken care of ,I find fault with them. I have learned to thank them for making me more mindful of my role in causing hurt and disappointment me. I am thankful to them for showing my own limitation and for maintaining connection with that person and for working on me. Second: To forgive someone for causing hurt in me. This is very essential for me for learning to let go and ease and heal my suffering.
May we all be grateful for the blessings we have received from many in ourl ives and thank them!
Jagdish P Dave
We thank our grandfathers and grandmothers, the ones who came before us, on whose shoulders we stand; we thank the children who yet to come, on our shoulders they will stand. We understand that we are never alone or separated; we are drops of water in a constant flow of stream; we are part of a great miracle manifested in this universe.
I especially resonated with thinking of all those who impact our lives that we may not always hold in awareness: all those who have gone before us to pave the pathway so that we may live more fully in our present time. Also to all those presently who impact us on a daily basis: from every one instrumental in the process so we could enjoy a cup of tea in the morning. It is valuable to pause and send up a prayer honoring them all. I also loved the part about compassion for those who have caused us suffering and to realize anyone who causes suffering has been or is in pain themselves. Pondering the personal impact of prayer: thinking about recently how Ive been offering prayers to Trump those who are so hurting and in such suffering that they have followed his rhetoric. I remain hopeful that somehow with all the racism, xenophobia uncovered that we may heal the divide that has grown so deep and that we all seek to understand and hold more compassion for each other. In the end whatever our beliefs, we are all human beings. no one is born as someone who hurts another and so it is up to each of us to be kind and send up the 5 prayers as suggested.[Hide Full Comment]
The five prayers bring up for me that I am not a separate entity but part of a much bigger system. It is said we stand on the shoulders of all who came before us -- that's true and it's more than that -- we are connected to all who ever lived, are living and will live. We are all one -- past, present, and future, interrelated, interdependent, interaffecting. Many prayers have touched me over the years. Some prayers that touched me years ago no longer touch me as I have changed and grown. A prayer that touches me very much today is one that I have created and say often. The 'Five Prayers' of Thich Nhat Hanh touches me deeply. I think what helps me cultivate gratitude toward all is learning that at a most basic level I and others are one, that we are much more alike than different, that we are in this project, this body, this journey, this cosmos together, that all that is is whole and sacred. I am grateful to be part of it all.[Hide Full Comment]