“O you the wise, would you tell me please: why should our days go by,never to return?”
Swallows may have gone, but there is a time of return; willow trees may die back, but there is a time of regrowth; peach blossoms will fall, but they will bloom again. Now, tell me, why should our days leave us, never to return? Perhaps they have been stolen but by whom and where are they hidden? Perhaps they have escaped but where do they hide? We do not know the number of days allotted to each of us, but my quota of them is undoubtedly wearing away. Counting up silently, I find that more than 24,000 days have already slipped away through my fingers. Like a drop of water falling into the ocean, my days are quietly dripping into the stream of time without leaving a trace. At the thought of this, tears well up in my eyes. What is gone is gone, what is about to come keeps coming. How swift is the transition in between! When I get up in the morning, the slanting sun casts patches of light through the window into my bedroom. The sun edges softly and stealthily. Without knowing it, I am caught blankly; in its revolution. Thus the day flows away through the sink when I wash my hands; vanishes in the preparation and consumption of my meal; passes away quietly before the fixed gaze of my eyes when I am lost in reverie at the computer. Aware of its fleeting presence, I reach out for it only to find it brushing past my out-stretched hands as I reflect in silence. In the evening, when I retire to my bed, it has either set in gloomy cloud or in a radient explosion of red and orange beneath the distant horizon. When I open my eyes to meet the sun again, another day is already gone. I heave a sigh, my head buried in my hands but, in the midst of my sighs, a new day begins to flash past in that sigh. A new day of living in this world with its fleeting days and teeming millions, what can I do but waver and wander and live a transient life? What have I been doing during the 24,000 fleeting days except wavering and wandering? The bygone days, like wisps of smoke, have been dispersed by gentle winds, and, like thin mists, have been evaporated by the rising sun. What traces have I left behind me? Not even a gossamer-like trace marks my stay. I have come to this world naked, and in the twinkling of an eye, I am to go to back as naked as ever. However, I am taking it very much to heart: why should I be made to pass through this world for nothing at all? What can I do, in this bustling world, with my days furiously flying by in their unstoppable escape? What have I been doing in that twenty four-thousand-day rush, apart from hesitating? Those bygone days have been dispersed as smoke by a light wind, or evaporated as mist by the morning sun. It is not fair though: why should I have made such a trip for nothing!
“All things are subject to decay, strive on with diligence. “
Last words of the Buddha