Impermanence as the Teacher

Yutang Lin

Reporting names of deceased for Powa service,
Recurring tides impact the mind upon sighting.
A solemn respect arises, facing life and death.
Sorrow lingers, learning of so much suffering.


In order to help deceased beings, reports containing tragic news or names of deceased beings come to me daily to request for Powa service. Most of them come in emails; the rest are faxes, phone calls and letters. A few Buddhists do this regularly as a practice to cultivate their appreciation of impermanence and compassion. Daily I receive such information, after so many years there naturally arises a feeling of solemn respect as if I were facing my own life and death. When constantly facing so many sentient beings with so many varieties of deaths and causes of their departure, who could not feeling deep sadness for endless suffering of sentient beings?

To learn more about taking Impermanence as the teacher, please read my short essay, "Keeping a Record of Impermanence," and poem, "Learning from the Dead."

Written in Chinese on April 17, 2001
Translated on April 18, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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