They do not care for worldly wealth any more, they have no thought for anything else but how to stay alive, how to live for yet another few precious years. This is the time for regret for many and this is also the time for repentance for some. It all depends on their states of mind, on what they have learned while they were healthy.
Those who have no spiritual knowledge and have gained no merits will be miserable indeed. They had no idea of where they came from, they had no idea of how to live a life that will bring them back to where they came from and they have no idea of where they will be heading. So it’s great fear that they shall be facing. Darkness frightens them, pain confuses their minds and raises anger and hatred within their hearts!
Why me? Why must this happen to me? Why must life be so cruel? Why must Death visit me so soon when I am not even ready? As they think, with confusion in their mind, they become more desperate more sick because their energies are being drawn away even more! They become more unsure, their fear for death increases. This is the scene which can be seen often in life. It is sad and there is nothing much that those around such people may do except to cry and moan and pray. It is a horrible scene to many, it is a meaningful scene to some. Those who are able to read this book’s simple messages must learn how not to become one who is like the dying person whose mind is also becoming as sick as his body. Then this day’s message is well worth reading. It is easy to read but to understand is a very difficult task. Knowing may be easy, yet to do is difficult! Religion teaches one to live his life, fruitfully! One must learn how life is to be spent. Life is like the morning dew, fresh and sparklingly clear. Then it gets stained with dusts and they are the defilements of living carelessly and meaninglessly. Carelessly is living without care for the truth that life is never permanent, just like the morning dew that must soon evaporate and how long it will stay will depend on circumstances of environment and how bright and hot the day is going to be.
The purpose of returning to life has not been understood, not until the very last moment of life may realisation set in, but then, too late! Meaninglessly means not going about achieving the purpose of life; diligently working to attain a higher status in the afterlife so that the next cycle of life may yet be provided with better conditions to improve one’s spiritual growth even more. The seeking of fame and fortune, fulfilling every aspects of sensual pleasures, swiftly climbing up the ladder of attachment and not knowing how to come down even though knowing that this has been the wrong ladder which will soon fall!
Man must learn to think. Simple wisdom is the best guidance to a worthy and virtuous life that will not bring about a troubled and confused mind at the moment of death. What is life after all? It’s just a return to the earth, to learn, to give service to others with a purpose. Life is misery filled yet happiness too is there. One tends to think that misery is a curse, yet is it? Many also think that happiness is the great blessing yet is it? In a state of happiness, how many will think of the future? Worldly happiness is nothing but the satisfaction of cravings and they are never truly fulfilling. This, one must think deeply! Life must have its share of both suffering and happiness in order to awaken one’s mind to the path of practice that leads to the ending of this world of duality and misery. Then misery will awaken one’s interest to attain happiness, then when happiness ends, to be followed by dissatisfaction, one will realise that it is not this world’s happiness that one is seeking for, but the Ultimate happiness which will never end in misery! This is not to be found in this world, but in another realm of existence, to reach for it one must be ready to forsake, to stop clinging to earthly life.
Knowing about life will lead one to pursue the path that leads to the other shore, where peace and bliss is for all eternity. To enter into this realm, one’s being must equally be pure and filled with peace. So life is really the great opportunity to rid oneself of all the defilements that are within one’s nature. Who can bring us greater harm than our own self? Where then are our enemies in life? They are not without, they are within. In the form of wrong views, ego, hate, anger, greed, possessiveness and so on and so forth. Each of these defilements must be exterminated, permanently removed, with patient perseverance. One cannot just wish them to vanish, one must work at them skillfully like a goldsmith on a piece of gold. First it must be melted, then it must be shaped and hit upon and with great patient skillful craftsmanship must be applied before a fine piece of jewellery is produced. One’s life’s sufferings may be taken as the shaping and purification of the self. One’s effort in practising disciplines and virtuous actions can be treated as skillful craftsmanship.
Since life is short and uncertain, one must realise that time is not on his side, he must therefore do his best to work on his own purification at every moment of the day. Then when night arrives, he is well satisfied and earns a good sleep. The virtuous man always sleeps soundly and effortlessly. Those who need effort to fall asleep are often the troubled ones. They have much to think and they are thinking at the wrong time, when they should be resting. Since they are at such a confused state, how can they pursue the goal of life? Each morning is difficult to face. Getting up with both a tired body and a tired mind, what can he achieve? Then half the day is lost and when he is finally awakened, nightfall is there before him. Such a person will never learn to live life preciously. He will not appreciate that time is ever on the move and once gone, it will never return. Whoever has no respect for time will never learn his lessons in life. Such people are those who live meaninglessly. Striving for that which fulfills his desires, getting in wrong and evil habits while precious time is drifting away swiftly. Time to them becomes valueless until the last moments of life when they finally realise that they have squandered precious time. Then the remaining last moments become so precious, the yearning for just a bit more time becomes so great. And they will seek to increase their life span, praying for an extension of life. Yet if granted the extra time, will they know the right direction to walk?
(To Be Continued in October 2018 Monthly Article).
Monday, 22nd September 1986
8th Moon, 19th Day