Three Instructions for Life by Anushka Fernandopulle:

So, I know you’re aware that this is the last evening of our retreat. And it can seem surprising. We can remember the first night here when we showed up. When you unpack your things, when you found your cushion or chair, trying to figure where the bathrooms were, you know, trying to figure out the setup here. But for those who returned, they went to look at the different things around, see if there’s anything that changed.

But what happened to that beginning, you know. It’s gone. And now, it’s the beginning of the ending. So, life is like this, like it passes fast in some ways. Even when there are period that seems to pass slow.

So, whenever I come here, I remember the time I spent here when I was quite young and when I set a three-month retreat for a long treat, I was mentioning to someone that was twenty-four (24) years ago. I was sitting in that quadrant somewhere there. You know. And I remember this and it’s interesting. Like, wow, what happened to that?

That’s more than half my life ago. And it seems to have just gone by like that. It’s sometimes hard to notice these things. Notice how, you know, when you had thoughts during the retreat like this will never end. You know. (people laughs).

I know, this sitting will never end, this retreat will never end, this walking period will never end, and look, it’s ended. (people laughs). It’s helpful to remember this and sometimes, I make myself notice those thoughts just to undercut them. So, ___ a long plain journey. You know, since I get in, pretty ___ like oh no, this will be forever. Yeah. So I make myself notice when it ends. Like, notice, it ended.

Or sometimes when I get sick, you know, sometimes a thought will arise like, uh, it feels like forever. And then, it’s like, notice, it ended. Or even today, you know, noticing all the melting and this is the first day above freezing here in weeks, months, I think. So, like, I’ve only been here three (3) times over that time. So, I’m sure those New England-ers have felt the relentlessness of this winter even more.

But I’m sure there were times when you thought, will it ever stop snowing. You know, will it ever get warm and look—it’s happening. You can see the ground a little bit. The ice is falling off the roof. And all these signs. ___ It’s like a good sign of life.

But on the other hand, this also points to this aspect that we’ve been talking about here quite a bit that is quickness about lifespan. You know, it’s a sign. It’s not just retreats that ends, or plain journeys that ends, or sickness or winter. You know, it’s actually the very life itself. Now, I quoted the seventh ___ before.

I’ll give you the entirety of this ___. So it says, after a birth, we have no freedom to remain even for a minute. We head towards the embrace of the Lord of death like an athlete running. We may think that we are among the living, but our life is the very highway of death. So, as we start, we’re off and running. You know, boom! Like that.

To elaborate on this ___ and joyful path of good fortune. It says, from the moment of our conception, we had inexorably towards death just like a race horse galloping towards its finishing post. But even race horses slow their pace. Yet, we and our race towards death never stops. While we’re sleeping and while we’re awake, our life slips away.

Every vehicle will stop along its journey sometimes, but in our lifespan, we never stop running out. So every moment, it’s here, it’s gone. It’s here, it’s gone. It’s here, it’s gone. And this is true for all of us.

The lifespan of a living being passes like lightning in a sky. It passes quickly as water falling from a high mountain.

So connecting with this is connecting with truth. A basic truth of existence. A basic truth of the way things are. And the implications of that, if we really take that in, our, to help us to see clearly, what are we doing? How are we spending our time?

And this is the way that we want to be spending it. What do, what are we focusing on? What do, what are we thinking about? How are we treating each other?

So here’s a story at the time of the Buddha. This is called the ___, the ___ of the mountains. And I put a, entertain a various seekers and visitors and ___ people and friendly people, and yet some friendship with various royalty of the time too. He was in fact from this kind of class.

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