This Life

Yutang Lin

If one wishes to recognize clearly
How this life has been
Just presume that one died at right this moment
And then look back

        Even if one will continue to live on
        How much longer will it last is still unknown
        How matters will evolve in the future
        Cannot be known for sure
        Not to mention that
        Most of the time things will turn out unexpectedly

Up to this moment
As such are the facts of this life
Any aspirations or expectations
Are merely personal illusions
Reflecting upon bare facts
Perhaps one could arrive at realistic plans
To render the remaining lifetime
With less regrets
And added flavors

Buddhists often mention "impermanence"
And yet few think of dying at right this moment
Hence I wrote this piece


Written in Chinese on January 23, 2011
Translated on January 24, 2011
El Cerrito, California