Learning from the Dead

Dr. Yutang Lin


As I walk in the cemetery,
I read the tombstones one by one;
Although only a few lines each,
To a careful eye they tell many stories.


All the things that we worry about, fight for or accomplish,
In the end are reduced to two dates of birth and death!
When we live we are separated by status and households;
When we die we come here to lie down side by side.


The dead are my real teachers;
They teach me through their eternal silence!
A walk through the cemetery simply dissipates all my worries.
The dead cleanse my mind by the vivid example of their existence!


Suddenly I see that life could end at any moment!
Once I realize that I am so close to death I am instantly free in life.
Why bother to criticize or fight with others?
Let me just be pure in mind and enjoy living!


Anyone we come across is sure to be
With us for only this moment!
Let us be kind to each other
And make life a merry-go-round!


May all who are lost in the sorrows and worries of life,
Wake up to the fact of the closeness of death!
Once you see impermanence face to face,
You will enjoy peace and freedom for life!

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