Continuing from previous article…..
In this prose, Master De Qing reminds his disciples on the temporal nature of life. The various occurrence in our life kept us constantly busy but at the end of it, what is it for? The 9th part goes like this;
and it can be roughly translated as follows;
生前枉費心千萬 – Living a life with millions of worries
死後空持手一雙 – at death we depart with hands, empty
This 2 stanzas reflect the life of unenlightened beings like us. We constantly plan, worry, scheme and plot, endeavour, engage in temporal stuff in our life. Material gains, fame, relations, family, hobby, interest, knowledge etc. Things that we feel are so important that our deeds and thoughts are revolving around them constantly.
However, none of these things can be brought along with us at death. Nothing.
From a Buddhist perspective, what really maters in life is to train ourselves towards enlightenment. Change our habitual mind pattern of grasping, aversion and delusion into an enlightened state. For that purpose, we have many methods for mind training.
To start simple, we can adopt practice of simple meditation or chanting. Be mindful of what is driving our thought patterns. Recognise the underlying grasping and aversion that influence us and work towards our own transformation into a better person.
悲歡離合朝朝鬧 – sadness, happiness, separation and acquaint unfold unceasingly
This stanza describe our human life experience. We have ups and downs. People enters and leave our life.
Just like a movie, the life we know play on and on. when a character enters the set, another leave. One moment we are happy and another sad.
When our show end, there is nothing to it and we enter another life, another scene.
In a way, this prose evoke the tiresomeness of repeatedly being trapped in the cycle of birth and death. Over and over it plays on until we learn how to get out of it. (Enlightenment)
壽夭窮通日日忙 – Birth, death, riches and poverty keep one busy
Master De Qing evoke the extremes in our life and with compassion and states that whatever situation we are in, we tend to keep ourselves in a frenzied busy (deeds and mind)
In the joyous occasion of a birth, we are busy. In the misery of death we are busy. When one is poor, we are busy. When one becomes rich, we are still busy.
Reading the entire prose together, we realised that although we know that life ultimately ends with our death; with relationship being created and ultimately ended. Yet no matter what kind of situations we are in, we tend to keep ourselves preoccupied with no time for spiritual practice.
I think this prose is a gentle reminder and encouragement for us to spare some time to engage in spiritual practice. At any moment in our day, no mater what we are doing, if we can bring our wandering mind inwards and practice awareness, recollect or chant our favourite mantra, that is spiritual practice.
That’s my limited translation and interpretation of the 9th prose. (to be continued…..)
醒世歌 (poem of awakening)