Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance,
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each one of us should strive to awaken -
Do not squander your life.
We’ve had much cause to reflect on this famous verse over the past few weeks. We have had two sad and painful losses in our small and large sangha. These remind us that the dharma we study and practice is more than a moral guide for our day to day lives. Too often people reduce religious life to “being a good person”. This is certainly good advice but the teaching which makes up our religious life is more than that. It is exactly this matter of supreme importance - life and death.
Our practice calls us to come face-to-face with our mortality and the inescapable fact of that “ticking clock” in the lives of everyone we care about. As Buddhists, we toss around the term “impermanence” and it can become a philosophical abstract unless we come back again and again to it as the fact of our own lives.
As these past few weeks have reminded us, we will experience the passing of so many of the people who inhabit our lives - we will observe the decline and unraveling of our own lives. Watching a beloved sangha member fade into silence was a complex and wonder-filled experience. It brought me back once more to this great matter of life and death.
I gassho to all those who presented this teaching.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu