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A Moment, A Lifetime

Between Ignorance and Enlightenment III 迷悟之间 (3)


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In the essay from which the title of this book was taken, Venerable Master Hsing Yun considers the importance of pausing a moment to reflect. Buddhists are taught that, before they act, they should consider the consequences of their actions. That reflection takes just a moment, but the consequences of our actions can last a lifetime. 

Hard work, he suggests, is only for a moment; but the results are for a lifetime. An unintentional word can bring serious long term consequences; but a well-spoken word can change a life for the better. In this sense, then, a moment – which we usually think of as a short amount of time – contains within it a lifetime of consequence. As a result, Venerable Master reminds us that “we must pay careful attention to the effect of a moment in anything we do.”

The essays in the book cover a wide variety of subjects, including further reflections on the effect we have on others; the relationship between the past, present, and future; and the importance of right mindfulness in living a successful life. Despite this seeming diversity, this common thread runs throughout the book: now, in this very moment, we have the power to make decisions with favourable and enduring effects.

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