When Peter Hata asked me to write an article for the Living Dharma column, I immediately told him, "Oh no, I can't write about anything like that." As I was telling him this however, I was going through a very difficult time in my life, and it made me wonder if I could put down in words what I was going through.
It all goes back to the 4th of July weekend. On Friday night, we were at my brother-in-law's house, our regular gathering place for dinner and rap session. We were all reminiscing about our Vegas bus trip the prior weekend; and thanking our lucky stars how we all got through the earthquake (and in a high-rise at that). At this time, our friend Clara was also there laughing and joking along with us.
That following Sunday morning, we received a phone call that Clara had suffered a brain hemorrhage and was in the hospitalnothing more about her condition. I was shocked and felt helpless because there was nothing I could do. I think I also felt a little anger not knowing what was to happen to Clara. During this time, I panicked. I thought to myself, I'll light the candle. Then I thought, that's not the reason why we light the Butsudan candle. But Clara's Christian, so I'll do itor is it the Catholics that do this? I lit the candle anyway, doing the only thing I could think of that might help her pull through.
The doctors decided that they would go ahead with the surgery on Monday morning. I'm told that it will take about two weeks before we find out anything, but so far, she's doing well.
Now that it's been a few days and I've had time to calm down, I realized that I was trying to change or make things happen myself. However, all this was actually beyond my control.
In Buddhism, we are told that the truth of impermanence is that all existing things are being transformed moment after moment. That's cool...I can accept that. But when the true effects of impermanence were taking place right in front of my eyes, I did not realize what was happening. Up until this point, I believe I was taking the meaning of impermanence for granted, as we do the changing of the seasons, and not believing it could affect me so personally. Now I have realized that impermanence will take its course, as in Clara's situation. It's all up to her. From the struggle of my dear friend, I have learned the truth of impermanence.
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