How Long Is Life
The Buddha asked his disciples, "How long is life?" Disciple A answered rightly, "In a few decades." The Buddha shook his head in dissatisfaction. Disciple B hurriedly said, "Within a meal’s time." The Buddha still shook his head. Disciple C said with a feeling, "Within a breath." The Buddha finally nodded and agree.
佛陀問弟子:「人生究竟有多長?」弟子甲理所當然地答道:「在數十年間。」佛陀不滿意地搖搖頭。弟子乙搶着說: 「在飯食間。」佛陀還是搖頭。弟子丙若有所感地說: 「在呼吸間。」佛陀終於點頭稱是。
For the hungry, food is life; for lovers, love is life; for the sick, health is life; for politicians, power is life; for businessmen, profit is life; for experts, professionalism is life...but the enlightened Buddha put aside all these external things and pointed out: "Life is within a breath". People generally understand the philosophical rational behind this doctrine. However, they lack deep insights in the Law of Dependent Origination, therefore fail to see through the ever-changing nature of the composition of elements in all phenomena. By only observing the surface of all phenomena, they mistakenly believe that things will last for long and not feel the threat of death.
對飢餓者而言, 糧食是生命; 對情侶而言, 愛情是生命; 對病者而言, 健康是生命; 對政客而言, 權力是生命; 對商人而言, 利潤是生命; 對專家而言, 專業是生命……但大徹大悟的佛陀把這些身外物全擺在一邊, 直截了當地指出:「生命在呼吸間」。 理論上, 人們能完全明白這一論斷的哲理性和正確性, 但因對緣生緣滅的理論缺少深入的了解, 無法看透組成事物的各種元素無時無刻不停在變化, 只能看到事物表面的現象, 因而總以為來日方長, 感受不到死亡的威脅。
Flowers are beautiful, but they will soon wither; youth is lovely, but it will soon be aging; flowers and youth are beautiful, but sooner or later they will vanish. Impermanence, as one of the essential doctrines of Buddhism, reminds people that “Everything changes and nothing lasts forever.” When we still have the ability to control life’s resources, we should always be grateful and cherish family members, relatives and friends who support us silently when we are in need. Don’t wait until we lose them as they are the treasures of your happiness and success !
鮮花是美麗的, 但很快就會凋謝; 青春是可愛的,可轉眼即將衰老; 鮮花與青春雖然美好, 但遲早都會逝去。事物這種無常變化的規律提醒人們, 當我們還有能力支配生命資源時, 學會珍惜並善加利用, 才是上上之策, 切莫等到失去時才追悔莫及! 換言之, 我們應學會善待身邊默默為自己付出的親人、朋友, 因為他們才是自己獲得幸福與成功的寶藏 !