As we begin November, we return for our annual month of remembrance. In the Upajjhatthana Sutta (Sutra of Contemplations) we are advised to remember these five facts on a daily basis.
- 1. I am aging.
- 2. I am vulnerable to becoming ill.
- 3. I will certainly die
- 4. All that I claim as mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me.
- 5. I am a karmic being; whatever I do, for good or for ill, I will experience the “fruits”.
These are the facts of life, as it were. For some, as has been a frequent interpretation by other traditions, is that this is pessimistic, hopeless - a real downer. That remains a complete misinterpretation and faulty judgment of buddhadharma. As we are learning from our current study of the Lotus Sutra, humans are not faced with a hopeless desperate situation. We are embedded in a condition with limits. The message of the Buddha is that we can transcend these limits through a combination of our efforts and the unceasing efforts of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In fact, we are promised a certain liberation. This guarantee begins with our realization of the five remembrances.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu