The Plum Village way of practicing meditation is one of my essentials for life. Full of little things, many gifts of wisdom to apply in the present, for one’s self, for everyone, while bounding to the others and to the unverse. I’m practicing for 5 years, and this practice accompanies me daily in so much things. In order for people to get deeper into the practice without living a monastic life, 5 trainings have been proposed by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk that build this tradition. 5 trainings to think of, to try to understand, to live more free, more consciously. He wrotes :
» The Five Mindfulness Trainings are one of the most concrete ways to practice mindfulness. They are nonsectarian, and their nature is universal. They are true practices of compassion and understanding. All spiritual traditions have their equivalent to the Five Mindfulness Trainings. The first training is to protect life, to decrease violence in oneself, in the family and in society. The second training is to practice social justice, generosity, not stealing and not exploiting other living beings. The third is the practice of responsible sexual behavior in order to protect individuals, couples, families and children. The fourth is the practice of deep listening and loving speech to restore communication and reconcile. The fifth is about mindful consumption, to help us not bring toxins and poisons into our body or mind. » Thich Nhat Hanh
======> If you want to read the full 5 mindfulness trainings, click here <======
However, in these 5 trainings, we often discuss the 3rd one. It is about True Love, but the way it’s written, what it conveys can touch, hurt, impress or cringe. Here it is :
» Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future. »
This training has some good points : it’s LBGTQI+ friendly, it makes the distinction between sex and love… but out of this, I found it problematic on several levels : it protects the institutions (and beyond them, patriarchy) in the implicit speech that puts the couple as the only way possible. It also speaks of the violence done to children, but what about every other being that are victims of abuse ? of sexual harrassment ?
So after lots of discussions and sharings about this topic (thanks Estelle :)),I decided to re-write it. To propose a new version, more adapted to here and now, to a larger point of view, more inclusive.
My 3rd training
- Aware of the many faces that love could have, I commit myself to cultivating the opening of my heart in order to take care of myself and the others. I recognize the importance of clear consent in my relationships and the importance of respect toward the others as toward myself.
- I know that the sexual desire and love are two separate things, and that sexual encounters based on greed cause suffuring on both sides. Also I’m willing to remember that love in a relationship doesn’t always have romantic characteristic, either exclusive, nor sexual.
- Aware that true love is a path that deepens and brightens with time and experience, I am decided to welcome the difficulties encountered so that they could help me blossom.
- Aware that the body and the mind are one, I commit myself to learning the appropriate means to manage my sexual energy. In the same way, I will learn to recognize and transform my seeds of jealousy with the help of compersion.
- Conscious of taboos in our society, I acknowledge that love and sexuality are discussing topics – our practice allows us to approach them in open spaces without judgment.
- I will do my best to prevent and protect the people close to me from harassment and sexual abuses, by being here beside the victims and by enquiring about the systemic character of the rape culture.
- I commit myself to developing loving kindness, compassion, joy and non-discrimination in me, for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others.
- Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
Tell me what you think !