A little reminder of the reminders
The four reminders are a basic practice.
As I see it, this means it’s both a starting point, and a potential end point. They say that for a lot of practices, if you really do them well, that’s enough, enough to create realization.
This can be contemplated formally or informally. Formally would be sitting on a cushion, maybe in front of a shrine of some sort, repeating the reminders in your mind, and seeing what thoughts arise. Informally would be just reminding yourself throughout the day. You’d probably be reminded anyway, by things that happen.
1. Precious human life
A very brief explanation:
1. We have a life. This is precious for a number of reasons. It’s not a waste, or a total mess. It’s not utterly meaningless, and it’s not just a chance to indulge. It’s precious.
2. People, places, things, ideas, always change. This includes death.
3. There is cause and effect. Importantly, this affects YOUR mind. You may not know how having an argument with someone will play out in one day, or one year, or a lifetime, BUT it’s pretty easy to know how it will change your mind. Your mind changes things, and things change your mind. It’s a “feedback loop.”
4. This feedback loop sometimes (sometimes?) feels unpleasantly like a whirlpool. Things can get worse. They can get better, and then worse. There’s always the self-conscious and anxiety of having an ego. However, this “samsara,” frustration, suffering, as deep rooted as it seems, is not fate, is not a condemnation, is not something we have to ignore.
Not VERY brief. My apologies for any glibness, mistakes, or errors.