Letting Things Be the Way They Are . . . Letting Go
Don’t think in a way that puts you in a turmoil. Just let things be the way they are. This is your duty now. No one else can help you. Your children can’t help you; your grandchildren can’t help you; your wealth can’t help you. The only thing that can help you is if you correct your sense of things right now. Don’t let it waver back and forth. Let go. Let go.
Even if we don’t let things go, they’re already ready to go. The parts of your body are trying to run away. Do you see this? When you were young, your hair was black. Now it’s gray. This is how it’s already running away. When you were young, your eyes were bright and clear, but now they’re blurry. Do you see this? They’re already running away. They can’t hold out any longer, so they have to run away. This is no longer their place to stay. Every part of your body has started running away. When you were young, were your teeth solid and sturdy? Now they’re loose. You may have put in false teeth, but they’re something new, not the original ones. The original ones have run away. Every part of your body — of everybody’s body — is trying to run away.
Your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body: All of these things are trying to run away. Why? Because this isn’t their place to stay. They’re fabrications, so they can’t stay. They can stay for only a while and then they have to go. And it’s not just you. Every part of the body — hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, everything — is getting ready to run away. Some parts have already gone, but not yet everything. All that’s left are a few house sitters. They’re looking after the house, but they’re no good. The eyes are no good; the teeth are no good; the ears are no good. This body’s no good because the good things have already run away. They keep running away, one after another.
You have to understand that this is no place for human beings to stay. It’s just a shelter where you can rest a bit, and then you have to move on.
Everything Getting Ready to Leave
So don’t let yourself be worried about so many things. You’ve come to live in the world, so you should contemplate the world to see that that’s the way it is: Everything’s getting ready to run away. Look at your body. Is there anything there that’s like what it used to be? Is the skin like it used to be? Is your hair like it used to be? Are your eyes like they used to be? Are your ears like they used to be? Are your teeth like they used to be? No, they’re not. They’ve run off to who knows where.
This is what their nature is like. Once they’ve served their time, they have to go. Why do they have to go? Because that’s their duty. That’s their truth. This isn’t a place where anything can stay permanently. And while they’re staying here, they’re a turmoil: sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful, with no respite or peace.
It’s like a person who’s traveling back home but hasn’t yet arrived. He’s still on the way, sometimes going forward, sometimes going back:
a person with no place to stay. As long as he hasn’t reached home, he’s not at his ease: no ease while he’s sitting, no ease while he’s lying down, no ease while he’s walking, no ease while he’s riding in a car. Why? Because he hasn’t yet reached home. When we reach our home, we’re at our ease because we understand that this is our home.
It’s the same here. The affairs of the world are never peaceful. Even if we’re rich, they’re not peaceful. If we’re poor, they’re not peaceful. If we’re adults they’re not peaceful. If we’re children they’re not peaceful. If we lack education, they’re not peaceful. If we’re educated, they’re not peaceful. All these affairs are not peaceful: That’s just the way they are. That’s why poor people suffer, rich people suffer, children suffer, adults suffer. Old people suffer the sufferings of old people. The sufferings of children, the sufferings of rich people, the suffering of poor people: They’re all suffering.
Inconstancy, Stress, and Not-Self
Every part in your body is running away, one thing after another. When you contemplate this, you’ll see aniccam: They’re inconstant. Dukkham: They’re stressful. Why is that? Anatta: They’re not-self.
This body you’re living in, this body sitting and lying here sick, along with the mind that knows pleasure and pain, that knows that the body is sick: Both of these things are called Dhamma.
The mental things with no shape, that can think and feel, are called nama. They’re nama-dhamma. The things that have physical shape, that can hurt, that can grow and shrink, back and forth: That’s called rupa-dhamma. Mental things are dhamma. Physical things are dhamma. That’s why we say we live with the Dhamma. There’s nothing there that’s really us. It’s just Dhamma. Dhamma conditions arise and then pass away. They arise and then pass away. That’s how conditions are. They arise and then pass away. We arise and pass away with every moment. This is how conditions are.