The Sorrow of Departure

Autumn is always perceived as a season of depression and departure. Recently, a teenage boy called me talking about his heart-broken puppy love and complaining that nobody understands him.

We all hope to find true love and hold on to it. However, nothing lasts forever. Buddhism talks about the “Eight Sufferings” – birth, aging, being sick, dying, departure of our loved ones, dealing with our hated ones, failure to acquire what we want, and the suffering resulting from flourishing of the five skandhas (physical sensation and knowledge). We all need to learn from our earthly sufferings to be mature.

Through birth, we experience the joy of life. Through aging, we treasure life. Through sickness, we understand the importance of staying healthy. Through death, we know life is unpredictable. Through departure from our loved ones, we know how to cherish love. Through dealing with the hated ones, we learn how to forgive. Through unattainable longings, we learn to let go. Through sufferings originating from our attachments to physical sensation, we learn not to be controlled by our desire.

The best in our life can disappear in an instance. To lead a meaningful life, we should start with cherishing planet Earth. Autumn may seem a bit depressed; but we can see it in a different perspective. The vivid red leaves symbolise our life burning while the fallen leaves returning to earth represent the formation of new life. This is how Nature works…

Master Sik Chi Wan

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