The Truths of Life
by Venerable Yen Pei

What is life exactly? Religious teachers and philosophers of both the past and present have offered diverse explanations about life. What is the Buddhist perspective of life?

1. Life is suffering. From birth to death, isn’t all that we experience ultimately of the nature of suffering, in the final analysis? It is only with self-awareness that “life is suffering” that we can have right, penetrating understanding of life.

2. Life is impermanent. From birth to death, we undergo constant changes every instant along with the metabolic processes in the body, thus advancing steadily towards the end of death. It is only with self-awareness that “life is impermanent” that we will be constantly vigilant, treasure this precious human life and live earnestly.

3. Life is illusory. When we probe in-depth into life, we discover that life is causally arisen, without any substantiality of its own,. It is only with self-awareness that “life is illusory” that we could live fearlessly without misgivings, as we sacrifice self-interests for the benefit of others.

This human form is rare and hard to come by. One must not live this human life in vain or let it degenerate. Moreover, one must make life sublime, by following the flawless life-outlook of the Middle Path and purifying this imperfect life that is rooted in craving, so as to accomplish the perfect, enlightened life that is based upon right wisdom. Only then can one imbue this human life with great, noble value.

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