We are told of heavenly messengers or, in Pali, Devaduta
They are sickness, ageing and death. They remind us of the truth of our fragile existence.
Are are other heavenly messengers we could consider? War, famine, thirst . . . climate change?
The Buddha described the first three mentioned here - as well as the message of those who have renounced the world to follow the spiritual path, to search for truth.
Truth is elusive in our everyday life. Lies and distortions of reality are commonplace. It is difficult to know where we stand, to have any sense of common ground, or of any solid, secure foundation to rest upon. The Buddha told us that the whole world is shaking, unstable, inconstant. There is no refuge here for us.
The only shelter from the storms, the only real refuge is Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. Simply put - awareness, truth and community. Or we could say, The Buddha, the Teachings and Those who have realised the way out of suffering by understanding the Teachings.
May we stand firmly in this Way of practice and be guided and nourished by the timeless Dhamma taught by the Buddha in northern India 2,700 years ago - that which is always apparent, universally applicable, freely offered to everybody everywhere.
The Palestinian people of Gaza and beyond are living with thirst, hunger, homelessness, destruction, fear, trauma and grief. They surely have a clearer sense of change, of loss and of impending death than most. They are living and manifesting now more than ever the vulnerability, the defencelessness of our human state. The heavenly messengers are all around for us to see.
May the sacrifice and immense suffering of the women, men and children in Gaza today be a source of liberation of hearts and minds so that this genocide can have some meaning, some purpose even as their immense suffering unfolds at this terrible time.
from A Walk In The Woods by Ven. Khantipalo
All compounds break down
All made things fall into pieces
All conditioned things pass away
With the passing away of those conditions
Everything and everybody
(That includes you and me)
Deteriorates, ages, decays
Breaks up and passes away
Living in the forest of desires
Are entirely composed of the impermanent
Yet our desire tells us to not see this
Though impermanence stares us in the face
From every single thing around us
And it confronts us when we look within
Mind and body
Arising and passing away
So don't turn on the TV,
go to the pictures,
read a book
seek some food
Or 100 other distractions
Just to avoid seeing this
This is the one thing really worth seeing
For one who fully sees it in themselves is free.