Within the tradition of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, teachings of the Four Reminders is helpful way to help turn someone towards Dharma practice. These four reminders are:

  • Life is Precious
  • Impermanence and death
  • Karma (cause and effect)
  • Faults of samsara

Four Reminders in its Essence

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a highly influential teacher in the west, explains the four reminders in this short poem:

Joyful to have
Such a human birth,
Difficult to find,
Free and well-favored.

But death is real,
Comes without warning.
This body
Will be a corpse.

Unalterable
Are the laws of karma;
Cause and effect
Cannot be escaped.

Samsara
Is an ocean of suffering,
Unendurable,
Unbearably intense.

Integrating the Four Reminders into Practice

The goal of the four reminders, as with all practices of Buddhism, is to integrate this understanding into daily life and to profoundly effect the mind. Ringu Tulku, in this interesting video, explains how the four reminders can be integrated into daily life.

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