Here is a wonderful collection of gathas or "mindfulness verses," along with one or two page commentaries on them, by the Buddhist monk, scholar, teacher, and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. These short verses are recited during daily activities. Here is his description of this practice, which is a key part of the Zen tradition for more than 2,000 years:
"Reciting gathas is one way to help us dwell in the present moment. When we focus our mind on a gatha, we return to ourselves and become more aware of each action. When the gatha ends, we continue our activity with heightened awareness. When we drive a car, signs can help us find our way. The sign and the road become one, and we see the sign all along the way until the next sign. When we practice with gathas, the gathas and the rest of our life become one, and we live our entire lives in awareness. This helps us very much, and it helps others as well. We find that we have more peace, calm, and joy, which we can share with others."
This book was originally published in 1990, and this edition contains three new gathas, some revisions to the original ones, and expanded commentaries. Present Moment, Wonderful Moment is divided into sections on:
• Verses For Starting the Day
• Verses For Meditation
• Verses For Eating Mindfully
• Verses For Daily Activities
Here are three gathas for daily activities:
Touching the Earth
"Earth brings us to life
and nourishes us.
Earth takes us back again,
We are born and we die with every breath."
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."
"The peace and joy
of one toe
is peace and joy
for my whole body."