Time is often measure by a century, by a year, by seasons, by months, by weeks and by days, and then by the hour, minute or second. But time is moving on, moment-to-moment, which cannot be realised or appreciated by the worldly. This constant motion of time is recognised by the Enlightened Ones as ‘the flow of time’ which brings about momentarily changes to all existential things, which are always in ‘a state of flux’. And so time, in reality, needs not measurement, cannot be defined!
The life of man is short. It is this shortness of duration of existence that causes him to have measurements as if he is hoping to live longer than his expectancy. Therefore, he becomes more aware of the need to know how long he has lived and how long more he expects to live.
He has put a value to his life and he is not going to waste it, and so time becomes his indicator of life! The spiritual man treasures his life and wastes no time. Each hour is not spent in idleness, each day is not lived meaninglessly for the rising of the sun and the rising of the moon keep his mind in the practice of purification. To remain a man has its great limitations in many ways. Even in his life, time is no time at all! He is aware that there is hardly time for him to improve his status for each day brings him nearer to Death. Each season brings him greater urgency to enter deep practice because the passage of time is quick and Spring will soon give way to Winter - a reminder again of life and death.
He is not afraid to die if he is spiritual, but he is not sure of the state of his rebirth. He is aware that even though he has lived a harmless and profitable lifetime, the effects of his present life’s good causes may not ripen yet and that negative karmas are around, and, due to maturation, may attach themselves to the life to come!
Therefore life is an uncertainty unless one has reached a high spiritual development! Even the spiritual ones are uncertain and do not take life for granted, what of the worldly who have not put forth any effort to improve themselves? They should have much fear indeed and no matter how they hope and pray, time is not for them to control, it cannot be stopped. It flows on and on, waiting for no one, and in its wake comes changes after changes in every moment.
It is not possible for man to realise this constant change of the moment, so they need years to recognise it when their bodies and health are ravaged by these changes which they attributed to time! Then they begin to wake up, but it is too late! They wished that they could reverse time and put it to good use and practice. They have not learned, and without the wisdom of knowledge how are they to face death and what is beyond? The ‘spiritual’ becomes fearful because they have always been ‘material’.
What they can see and perceive, they draw comfort, but what is unseen and unrealisable, generate fear. Realisation brings forth memories of the distant past and the worldly man then begins to dwell on the past, his life and its actions. Those who have not lived profitable and righteous lives suffer from the turmoils of guilt and they fear. To live in suffering while a healthy being, and in fear while in feebleness, is indeed the curse of human existence. All this happens because of ignorance, but ignorance is not to be excused. Man is exposed to the lessons of life whether he comes across Dharma or not, whether he has found a spiritual teacher to guide him or not? Dharma is there and teachers are around, but he has ‘no time’ to learn, to change, he ‘spends’ his time in pleasurable pursuits and when his time is ‘spent’, he is the loser.
Man is always living in irony. He sees but again sees not. That is the meaning of having eyes but see not! Unless man wakes up to realise what time is, seeing how it rules his life, he will be caught by time and in time! Having lived timelessly, suffered so immensely over such inconceivable periods of time, yet he does not put any value to time while he has the intelligence to appreciate it as a human. He rather prefers to be like a moth who sees other moths playing with fire and die by it, and yet foolishly becomes consumed by it. Such is man’s stupidity!
Tuesday, 11th March 1986
2nd Moon, 2nd Day