Verses (Gathas) for Mindfulness Practices

Thich Nhat Hanh


Calming the Breath
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Breathing Version One
Going back to the island of self,
I see Buddha is my mindfulness
shining near, shining far.

Dharma is my breathing
guarding body and mind.
Sangha is my Five Skandhas
working in harmony.

Breathing in, breathing out.
Flower, fresh.
Mountain, solid.
Water, reflecting.
Space, free

Breathing Version Two
Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I’m breathing out.
As my in-breath grows deep,
my out-breath grows slow.
Breathing in, I feel calm,
breathing out, I feel at ease.
Breathing in, I smile,
breathing out, I release.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Breathing Version Three
I have arrived, I am home
in the here, in the now.
I am solid, I am free,
in the ultimate, I dwell.

Arrived, arrived,
at home, at home,
dwelling in the here,
dwelling in the now.
Solid as a mountain,
free as the white clouds.

The door to no-birth, no-death has opened,
free and unshakable I dwell.

Breathing Version Four
In, Out.
Deep, Slow.
Calm, Ease.
Smile, Release.
Present moment, Wonderful moment.

Inviting the Bell to Sound (Version 1)
 Body, speech, and mind held in perfect oneness,
 I send my heart along with the sound of the bell. 
May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness and transcend all anxiety and sorrow.

Listening to the Bell 
Listen, listen,
this wonderful sound
brings me back to my true home.

Sitting Down
Sitting here
is like sitting under a Bodhi tree.
My body is mindfulness itself,
free from all distraction.

Adjusting Meditation Posture
Feelings come and go
like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing
is my anchor.

Entering the Meditation Hall
Entering the meditation hall, 
I see my true self. 
As I sit down, 
I vow to cut off all disturbances.

Cleaning the Meditation Hall
As I clean this fresh, calm room,
boundless joy and energy arise.

 Morning Meditation
The Dharmakaya is bringing morning light.
Sitting still, my heart at peace, I smile. 
This is a new day. I vow to go through it with awareness. 
The sun of wisdom will soon be shining everywhere.
Sisters and brothers, diligently bring your mind into meditation. Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya (three times).

Evening Meditation
At the foot of the Bodhi tree,
I keep my back straight and my posture stable . 
Body, speech, and mind are calmed.
There is no longer any thought of right and wrong.
 Mindfulness is shining on the five skandhas. 
The original face will be found, 
and the shore of illusion will be left behind. 
Sisters and brothers, diligently bring your mind into meditation. Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya (three times).



Greeting Someone [with palms joined]
A lotus for you,
a Buddha-to-be

Waking Up 
Waking up this morning, I smile. 
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. 
I vow to live fully in each moment 
and to look at beings with eyes of compassion.

Taking the First Steps of the Day
Walking on the Earth is a miracle! 
Each mindful step reveals the wondrous Dharmakaya.

Turning on the Water
Water comes from high mountain sources. Water runs deep in the Earth. Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life. 
My gratitude is filled to the brim.

Washing Your Hands
Water flows over these hands.
 May I use them skillfully to preserve our precious planet.

Brushing Your Teeth
 Brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth, 
I vow to speak purely and lovingly
 When my mouth is fragrant with right speech, a flower blooms in the garden of my heart.

Rinsing Your Mouth
Rinsing my mouth, my heart is cleansed.
The universe is perfumed by flowers. 
Actions of body, speech, and mind are calmed. Hand in hand with the Buddha,
I walk in the Pure Land.

Using the Toilet
Defiled or immaculate, increasing or decreasing– these concepts exist only in our mind. The reality of interbeing is unsurpassed.

 Unborn and indestructible, beyond time and space, both transmission and inheritance lie in the wonderful nature of Dharmadhatu.*

Looking in the Mirror 
Awareness is a mirror reflecting the four elements.
Beauty is a heart that generates love and a mind that is open.

Washing Your Fee
The peace and joy of one toe is peace and joy for my whole body.

As I carefully sweep
the ground of enlightenment,
a tree of understanding
springs up from the Earth.

Smiling at Your Anger
Breathing in,
 I know that anger makes me not beautiful. 
Breathing out, I smile.
I stay with my breathing so I won’t lose myself.

Turning on the Computer
Turning on the computer,

my mind gets in touch with the store (consciousness).
I vow to transform habit energies to help love and understanding grow.

Driving the Car
Before starting the car I know where I’m going. 
The car and I are one. 
If the car goes fast, I go fast.

Making a Short Journey Safely
Two-thirds of accidents take place near home.
Knowing this, I am very careful
Even on a short trip.

Drinking Tea
This cup of tea in my two hands, mindfulness held perfectly. 
My mind and body dwell in the very here and now.

Watering the Plants
Don’t think you are cut off, dear plant. 
This water comes to you from the Earth and sky. 
You and I have been together since beginningless time.

 Looking at My Hand
Whose hand is this that has never died? 
Has anyone been born?
Will anyone die?

Using the Telephone
Words can travel thousands of miles.
May my words create mutual understanding and love. 
May they be as beautiful as gems, as lovely as flowers.

Watering the Garden
The sunshine and the water 
have brought about this luxurious vegetation. 
The rain of compassion and understanding 
can transform the dry desert into a vast fertile plain.

Walking Meditation
The mind can go in a thousand directions, 
but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. 
With each step, a cool wind blows. 
With each step, a flower blooms.

Turning on the Light
Forgetfulness is the darkness, 
mindfulness is the light.
I bring awareness to shine upon all life.

Washing Vegetables
In these vegetables I see a green sun. 
All dharmas join together to make life possible.

Earth brings us to life and nourishes us. 
Earth takes us back again.
We are born and we die with every breath.

Planting a Tree
 I entrust myself to Earth; 
Earth entrusts herself to me. 
I entrust myself to Buddha; 
Buddha entrusts herself to me.

Cleaning the Bathroom
How wonderful to scrub and clean.
 Day by day, my heart and mind grow clearer.

As I carefully sweep the ground of enlightenment,
a tree of understanding springs up from the Earth.

Cleaning the Meditation Hall
 As I clean this fresh, calm room,
boundless joy and energy arise!

Throwing Out the Garbage
In the garbage, I see a rose.
In the rose, I see compost. 
Everything is in transformation. Impermanence is life.

Cutting a Flower
 May I cut you, little flower, gift of Earth and sky? 
Thank you, dear bodhisattva, for making life so beautiful.

Arranging Flowers
Arranging these flowers in the saha world, 
the ground of my mind is calm and pure.

Changing Water in a Vase
 Water keeps the flower fresh.
The flower and I are one. 
When the flower breathes, I breathe. 
When the flower smiles, I smile.

Lighting a Candle
Lighting this candle, Offering the light to countless Buddhas,
the peace and the joy I feel brighten the face of the Earth.