Letting Go the Fabrications of Life
“Letting go” means that he put these things down. Don’t carry them around. Don’t weigh yourself down. Accept the truth about the fabrications of the body, whatever they may be: You’ve relied on them since you were born, but now it’s enough. Now that they’re old, they’re like the utensils in your home — the cups, the saucers, and the plates — that you’ve held onto all these years. When you first got them they were bright and clean, but now they’re wearing out. Some of them are broken, some of them are lost, while the ones remaining have all changed. They haven’t stayed the same. That’s just the way things are.
The same holds true with the parts of your body. From the time of birth and on through your childhood and youth, they kept changing. Now they’re called “old.” So accept the fact. The Buddha taught that fabrications aren’t us, they aren’t ours, whether they’re inside the body or out. They keep changing in this way. Contemplate this until it’s clear.
This body of yours, lying here and decaying, is the truth of the Dhamma. This truth is a teaching of the Buddha that’s certain and sure.
He taught us to look at it, to contemplate it, to accept what’s happening. And it’s something you should accept, regardless of what’s happening.
Training the Mind to Let Go and Leaving Things Be
The Buddha taught, when we’re imprisoned, to make sure that it’s only the body that’s imprisoned. Don’t let the mind be imprisoned. And the same thing applies here. When the body wears out with age, accept it. But make sure that it’s only the body that’s wearing out. Make sure that the affairs of the mind are something else entirely. This gives your mind energy and strength, because you see into the Dhamma that this is the way things are. This is the way they have to be.
As the Buddha taught, this is the way the body and mind are of their own accord. They can’t be any other way. As soon as the body is born, it begins to age. As it ages, it gets sick. After it’s sick, it dies. This truth is so true, this truth you’re encountering today. It’s the truth of the Dhamma. Look at it with your discernment so that you see.
Even if fire were to burn your house, or water were to flood it, or whatever the danger that would come to it, make sure that it’s only the house that gets burned. Make sure your heart doesn’t get burned along with it. If water floods your house, don’t let it flood your heart. Make sure it floods only the house, which is something outside the body. As for the mind, get it to let go and leave things be — because now is the proper time, the proper time to let go.
Nothing in this World Is Lasting
You’ve been alive for a long time now, haven’t you? Your eyes have had the chance to see all kinds of shapes, colors, and lights. The same with your other senses. Your ears have heard lots of sounds, all kinds of sounds — but they were no big deal. You’ve tasted really delicious foods — but they were no big deal. The beautiful things you’ve seen: They were no big deal. The ugly things you’ve seen: They were no big deal. The alluring things you’ve heard were no big deal. The ugly and offensive things you’ve heard were no big deal.
The Buddha thus taught that whether you’re rich or poor, a child or an adult — even if you’re an animal or anyone born in this world: There’s nothing in this world that’s lasting. Everything has to change in line with its condition. The truth of these conditions — if you try to fix them in a way that’s not right — won’t respond at all. But there is a way to fix things.