‘Encouraging’ Words – Zen Master Guishan

someday you will die
lying on your sick bed
about to breathe your last
you will be assailed by every kind of pain
your mind will be filled
with fears and anxieties
and you will not know
what to do or where to go
only then will you realise
that you have not practised well
the skandhas/aggregates (matter, sensations, conceptions, impulses and consciousness)
and the four elements in you
will quickly disentegrate
and your consciousness will be pulled
wherever your ancient, twisted karma leads it
impermanence does not hesitate
death will not wait
you will not be able to extend your life by even a second
how many thousands more times
will you have to pass through the gates of birth and death
if these words are challenging
even insulting
let them be an encouragement
for you to change
practise heroically
do not accumulate unnecessary possessions
don’t give up
still your mind
end wrong perceptions
concentrate and do not run after the objects of your senses
practise diligently
be determined not to let your days and months
pass by wastefully

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