Devin Berry
The Five Remembrances — The Truth and Nothing but the Truth
On Sunday, February 11, 2024, after meditation we listened to a talk on The Five Remembrances by meditation teacher, Devin Berry.

Inspired by recent health concerns and the loss of loved ones, Devin Berry explored the Buddha’s teaching of the Five Remembrances or the Five Daily Reflections as he called them, from the Upajjhaṭṭhana Sutta (AN 5:57). He highlighted the importance of developing a contemplative practice with these reflections, which asked us to acknowledge the inevitability of aging, illness, and death, as well as the impermanence of all that is dear to us. Devin emphasized that these reflections are not just concepts but living truths that unfold in our daily experiences.

In his talk, Devin shared various English translations of the Five Remembrance / Daily Reflections, here is one of them:

  1. I am of the nature to grow old.
  2. I am of the nature to have ill health.
  3. I am of the nature to die.
  4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
  5. My actions are my only true belongings; I cannot escape the consequences of my actions; my actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Focusing on the second reflection, Devin discussed the universal experience of ill health. He shared personal stories, including encounters with illness and caring for others, to illustrate the transformative power of facing the realities of our physical vulnerability, the fragility and preciousness of our human form.

Devin underscored the importance of integrating the Five Remembrances into our daily life, as they point out the truths of human conditions without judgement, and serve as a gateway to True Freedom. These reflections, rather than dampening spirits, invite practitioners to confront discomfort, embrace each moment with awareness, and navigate life’s difficulties with courage and compassion. They can also foster gratitude, mindfulness, and purpose. Devin reminded us that acceptance of impermanence enables a deeper appreciation of life, strengthens our resolve to act with intention and kindness.

Happy Learning!

  

From the Teachers: The Five Remembrances / Daily Reflections

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The Truth and Nothing but The Truth” by Devin Berry*

Video Content:
00:00:00 – Credit and Content Index screen
00:00:14 – Guided Meditation
00:32:19 – Speaker Introduction
00:34:14 – Dharma Talk

 


 
 

Reference of material mentioned in the talk:

  1. Anguttara Nikāya : AN 5:57 : Upajjhaṭṭhana Sutta – The Five Subjects for Contemplation translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Devin Berry mentioned this Sutta in his talk (00:38:12 ~ 00:38:31) as the origin of the Five Remembrance teaching.
    SOURCE: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN5_57.html
     
  2. “The Heart’s Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy” by Paul Pearsall
    (ISBN: 9780767900959)
    Devin Berry quoted the story of Glenda and David from this book (p.57-77) during his talk, starting at 00:45:29.
    BOOK INFO: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/128861/the-hearts-code-by-paul-p-pearsall/
     
  3. “The Lesson of Impermanence” by Sunita Puri
    Devin Berry quoted a story from this NYT article towards the end of his talk, starting at 01:07:14, about a doctor’s chance encounter with a mandala sand painting.
    SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/well/live/palliative-care-end-of-life-death.html
     

 

* Devin Berry is a Core Guiding Teacher at The Insight Meditation Society (IMS). A meditator since 1999, his practice is primarily informed by the metta and vipassana teachings of the Insight Meditation tradition.

Devin has undertaken many periods of silent long-term retreat practice. His training includes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher training, the East Bay Meditation Center Commit to Dharma Program, Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program, and IMS’s four-year Residential Retreat Teachers Program.


Devin co-founded both the Teen Sangha and Men of Color Deep Refuge Group at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland. In addition, almost 20 years ago, Devin began some of the first mindfulness programs in SF Bay Area schools, including weekly mindfulness groups for youth. Devin began working with youth over 25 years ago as a frontline advocate for marginalized youth living on the streets, in recovery and exploitation. Over the years Devin’s work has included leading wilderness camp programs for teens, Rites of Passage programs for tweens, and a summer camp for boys.


After retiring from youth work, Devin co-created Deep Time Liberation, an ancestral healing journey that explores the impact of ancestral legacy and intergenerational trauma on Black Americans. He is passionate about the power of witnessing and storytelling as a liberation tool. Devin is a father and teaches nationally.