Looking up at the clouds when you were a child, finding shapes and animals, it didn’t take long to notice they quickly changed there form and became something else, or evaporated completely. It’s easy to see it in a cloud. Before your eyes, it comes floating over the hill, twirling and shifting, passes over head and out of sight or like a puff of smoke, fades away. But isn’t everything like a cloud? Somethings are just less obvious to the sight. Flowers bloom and wilt. Trees bud and in time loose their leaves. The villages or cities we live in fade, paint chips, bricks and cement eventually crack. From our conception, our bodies continue their development and from one day to the next, always changing. Lines form, hair falls, spines shrink. The entire universe is in motion never remaining for a single instant.
When understanding this truth, why cling to objects and base our happiness on the things we have? Buddha explained that the happiness we feel from our possessions is inherently transient, since the nature of all objects are impermanent. When we loose something, we may feel varying degrees of pain and suffering. Something drops on the floor and shatters, or something is lost or stolen, we suffer. In fact, we’ve just returned to an early state when we didn’t have it at all.
Buddhism encourages us to avoid craving but being the path of the Middle Way, it doesn’t teach aversion either, unless it’s something harmful. Having things is fine, but don’t be so attached to them they they will cause unnecessary suffering when the inevitable happens. If your things don’t leave you first, you will one have have to loose them. At that time, won’t it be like holding something you found in a dream and being upset that it’s time to wake up? Even our bodies must be let go of. Some practices make it a daily routine to concider your own impermanence. I think it makes it that much easier if it’s something you’ve been prepared for for a while.
I finally watched a movie last night that I’d had on my computer for a few weeks called “Zen Noir.” A spoof on old Film Noir movies, a detective is sent into a temple to investigate the death of a monk. There where a few witty scenes that made the movie worthwhile in the end, but one scene in particular impressed me. The head monk of the temple explains non-duality through an orange, but also touches on the greater loss of family and loved ones…Vodpod videos no longer available.