Teacher's Words of Wisdom-Remembering the anguish of life and death


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The temperature in PEI has dropped appreciably in recent days.  People have started donning warm clothing or turned on heating devices in their homes; and, many little sentient beings without clothes have started taking refuge in the woods or underground, while some can only tremblein the wintry winds. 

There are some flies which will fly into the interiors of the building every day. Despite their efforts to seek warmth, they cannot escape the pursuit of Death.  Every day I see them struggle, and then helplessly die; alive yesterday, but perish today, still alive in the morning but dead by afternoon, because their lifespan has been expended.  Life has come to an end for them, without exception, whether being shielded in warm interiors or otherwise. 

As indicated in The Great Final Nirvana Sutra: Among all reapings, the autumn harvest is supreme. Among all tracks, the track of the elephant is supreme. Among all ideas, the idea of impermanence and death is supreme because with it you eliminate all the attachment, ignorance, and pride of the three realms.”

 An excerpt from the Collection of Indicative Verses states: 

" Understanding that the body is like a clay vessel and similarly, that phenomena are like mirages, here you destroy the demons' poisonous flower-tipped weapons and pass beyond the sight of the Lord of Death."

Also another verse found in the Collection of Indicative Verses:

" By seeing aging, the suffering of sickness, and dead bodies from which the mind is gone, the resolute abandon this prison-like home, while ordinary worldlings can never eliminate attachment."

Therefore, seeing death of other sentient beings, we should be even more mindful of death and direct our minds toward Dharma, start learning and practising the Dharma. This is because at the time of death, we can only rely on the Dharma; it is the only thing that we can bring forth to a [better] next life, whileeverything else is of no use.  When should we start to learn and practise the Dharma?  Now!  At this very moment!  Eliminate all non-virtues and practise virtues in our body, speech and mind;  tighten our hold on ethical discipline and never let ourselves become lax!"

Translated and reviewed by Lim Siew Cheng & Adeline Tay