Perspectives on Impermanence (1)

Not clinging to either the negative or the positive is correct Buddha dharma. The reason we lose hope when faced with failure, and get overexcited when meeting success, is that we cannot let go of our self importance. Whatever we cannot let go of becomes an obstruction. Buddha dharma espouses being aware of the reality of the moment, then letting it go. A young person is not yet old; an old person is not yet dead. Work with what you have, and do not resist change. Understanding that every moment, your life indeed, the entire universe--is a dynamic process of birth, growth, decline, and death, will help to loosen your attachment to self. In turn, you will be hopeful in facing difficulties, composed when meeting success, and dedicated when fulfilling our obligations.

"Neither born nor destroyed” refers not only to physical life and death, but also to all phenomena. All things start to decay after coming into being--nothing remains unchanged. However, this truth need not make us despondent; we need not let the inevitable paralyze us. Once we are born, our body begins the process of dying, but in the meantime, we can use our body while life is present.

We can apply this attitude to all our interactions—whatever we encounter is also experiencing birth and death. From the point of view of sentient beings, the interim between birth and death that we call life, is our meaning of ‘no birth and no death. ‘ Birth and death permeate everything we are and do; therefore, for us they exist. When we are enlightened, there is no birth and no death. Enlightenment takes the expansive view, both temporally and spatially. Temporally, all phenomena arise and perish ceaselessly. If everything is forever rising and falling, can we ever say something is here or gone? Spatially up close, things may appear to come and go, but from a great distance--another galaxy, for instance--do they really go anywhere? A basic principle of physics states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed.

 --There Is No Suffering, P.55-56

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