44 Mindful Moves in Daily Life – Thich Nhat Hanh’s Gathas



Dwelling in the present moment, We can see so many beauties and wonders right before our eyes–a child’s smile, the sun rising, the autumn leaves. We can be happy just by being aware of what is in front of us. Practicing with gathas can help us return to ourselves and to what is going on in the present moment. It is helpful to memorize these gathas, a few at first, and more as You go on with the practice. As You silently recite the first line, breathe in; and as You silently recite the second line, breathe out. When the gathas are finished, continue your activity, and You will find that your mindfulness has increased. When We drive, road signs help us find our way. We “see” the last sign until the next one appears. Practicing with gathas is the same. When we practice well, the gathas are with us continuously, and we live our whole day in awareness.

  1. 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.
  2. Taking the First Steps of the Day Walking on the Earth is a miracle! Each mindful step reveals the wondrous Dharmakaya.
  3. Stepping out of Bed If today I inadvertently step on a small insect, may it not suffer too much. May it be liberated. Homage to the Bodhisattva of the Land of Great Happiness.
  4. Opening the Window Opening the window, I look out onto the Dharmakaya. How wondrous is life! Attentive to each moment, my mind is clear like a calm river.
  5. 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.
  6. Washing Your Hands Water flows over these hands. May I use them skillfully to preserve our precious planet.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Using the Toilet Defiled or immaculate, increasing or decreasing– these concepts exist only in our mind. The reality of interbeing is unsurpassed.
  10. Bathing Unborn and indestructible, beyond time and spaceÑ both transmission and inheritance lie in the wonderful nature of Dharmadhatu.*
  11. 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.
  12. Washing Your Feet The peace and joy of one toe is peace and joy for my whole body.
  13. Sitting Down Sitting here is like sitting under a Bodhi tree. My body is mindfulness itself, free from all distraction.
  14. 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!
  15. Adjusting Posture Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
  16. Greeting Someone A lotus for you a Buddha to be.
  17. Blessing the Offering to the Hungry The ways of the Awakened One are wondrous. His limitless compassion transforms seven grains of rice into food enough for everyone.
  18. Offering to the Hungry Great garuda bird, hungry spirits in immense wastelands, mother and child starving in the desert, the balm of compassion satisfies all their hunger.
  19. Before Eating The Buddha advises us to be mindful while we eat, to be in touch with the Sangha and the food. Brothers and sisters, when you hear the bell, meditate on the Five Contemplations: This food is the gift of the whole universeÑ the earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we be worthy to receive it. May we transform unskillful states of mind, especially the habit of eating without moderation. May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness. We accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love.
  20. Holding the Empty Bowl Looking at this bowl, I see how fortunate I am to have enough to eat to continue the practice.
  21. Serving Food In this food, I see clearly the entire universe supporting my existence.
  22. Before Eating Beings all over the Earth are struggling to live. I aspire to practice deeply so all may have enough to eat.
  23. Beginning to Eat With the first taste, I offer joy. With the second, I help relieve the suffering of others. With the third, I see others’ joy as my own. With the fourth, I learn the way of letting go.
  24. Looking at Your Plate or Bowl after Eating The meal is finished, and I am satisfied. The four gratitudes are deeply in my mind.
  25. Bathing the Buddha Today we bathe the Tathagata. So much happiness comes from awakened understanding. We have drifted a long time in the three realms. Now we see that this world of dust is the Dharmakaya itself.
  26. Impermanence The day is ending and our life is one day shorter. Let us look carefully at what we have done. Let us practice diligently, putting our whole heart into the path of meditation. Let us live deeply each moment and in freedom, so the time doesn’t slip away meaninglessly.
  27. 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.
  28. Turning on the Computer Turning on the computer, my mind gets in touch with the store. I vow to transform habit energies to help love and understanding grow.
  29. 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.
  30. Making a Short Journey Safely Two-thirds of accidents take place near home. Knowing this, I am very careful Even on a short trip.
  31. Drinking Tea This cup of tea in my two hands, mindfulness held perfectly. My mind and body dwell in the very here and now.
  32. 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.
  33. Looking at My Hand Whose hand is this that has never died? Has anyone been born? Will anyone die?
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Turning on the Light Forgetfulness is the darkness, mindfulness is the light. I bring awareness to shine upon all life.
  37. Washing Vegetables In these vegetables I see a green sun. All dharmas join together to make life possible.
  38. Gardening Earth brings us to life and nourishes us. Earth takes us back again. We are born and we die with every breath.
  39. Planting a Tree I entrust myself to Earth; Earth entrusts herself to me. I entrust myself to Buddha; Buddha entrusts herself to me.
  40. Cleaning the Bathroom How wonderful to scrub and clean. Day by day, my heart and mind grow clearer.
  41. Sweeping As I carefully sweep the ground of enlightenment, a tree of understanding springs up from the Earth.
  42. Throwing Out the Garbage In the garbage, I see a rose. In the rose, I see compost. Everything is in transformation. Impermanence is life.
  43. Arranging Flowers Arranging these flowers in the saha world, the ground of my mind is calm and pure.
  44. 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.
For more about the life, wisdom, and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, check out Raghu’s conversation with David Silver on the Mindrolling Podcast.

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This article on Thich Nhat Hanh’s Gathas was originally published at International School Of Spiritual Psychology. Visit to find more great content like this. Photo via Pinterest.