Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A reflection on death and impermanence

Life is like a burning butter-lamp in the wind. We never know when it will be blown out. Yet we live as though we would never die. We hardly think of death and impermanence in our everyday life. Clouded by our desires, greed, ego, anger and ignorance, we often get carried away by momentary sensual pleasures and materialistic comfort the world provides and forget the very purpose of being born as a human being, the most intelligent and capable species of all. It is only when we are born in the human realm that we have the opportunity to practice Dharma and change the course of our afterlives. No other sentient beings have the opportunity and capacity to seek enlightenment like human beings. This is the main reason why human life is considered so precious in Buddhism.

Millions of years have passed since life began on Earth but we are still stuck in this world of suffering because we have not been able to get rid of our bad Karma. Now that we have been born as a human being, we have the biggest opportunity to understand the true purpose of this life and pursue spirituality to liberate ourselves forever. We would not know how many times we were born and re-born in this world and what kind of pain and suffering we were subjected to in our past lives, but today, we stand at a juncture where we have the power and freedom to decide which direction to take for the remaining part of our life’s journey. As Lord Buddha has said, we all are the products of our own actions. We don’t get what we don’t deserve. The kind of life that we live today reflects the kind of life we had in the past and the way we live today determines the kind of life that we shall have after death. Our Karmic cycle revolves around the principle of cause and effect.

Nevertheless, we live in a society where time has become as precious as money. We are so busy with our worldly affairs everyday that we don’t even get time to pray properly at home, forget about becoming a full-time Dharma practitioner.

But no matter how much wealth we accumulate in life or how much power we enjoy when we are alive, nothing matters when we die. Not even the presence of our loved ones around us would matter. The only thing that can give us solace at the time of death is our good Karma that we have created for ourselves when we were alive. This means that we cannot take things for granted. We can never leave out spirituality from our daily life because that’s the only thing we need when we die. This human life is too precious to be lived without realizing the true meaning and purpose of our existence. I believe that we have been given this life solely as an opportunity to liberate ourselves and other sentient beings from this world of suffering. Let us therefore be always mindful of how we live our life and become a good human being. May all the sentient beings be blest with eternal peace!

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