Well, I think illusion is one of the most interesting things that I’ve found to think about. I don’t really know how it works, but I know that in some way we are and in some way we’re not having this conversation. Just look at yesterday, and what you were doing, and how important it was, and how nonexistent it is now! How dreamlike it is! Same thing with tomorrow. So where are we living? Tibetans have unbelievably fascinating answers to that. This is what I’m studying because my dog died.

The Believer – Interview with Laurie Anderson

Well, I think illusion is one of the most interesting things that I’ve found to think about. I don’t really know how it works, but I know that in some way we are and in some way we’re not having this conversation. Just look at yesterday, and what you were doing, and how important it was, and how nonexistent it is now! How dreamlike it is! Same thing with tomorrow. So where are we living? Tibetans have unbelievably fascinating answers to that. This is what I’m studying because my dog died.

The Believer – Interview with Laurie Anderson

Well, I think illusion is one of the most interesting things that I’ve found to think about. I don’t really know how it works, but I know that in some way we are and in some way we’re not having this conversation. Just look at yesterday, and what you were doing, and how important it was, and how nonexistent it is now! How dreamlike it is! Same thing with tomorrow. So where are we living? Tibetans have unbelievably fascinating answers to that. This is what I’m studying because my dog died.

The Believer – Interview with Laurie Anderson

Arising and passing

You should know that that which is arising and passing away is only the activity of mind. When something arises, it passes away and is followed by further arising and passing away. In the Way of Dhamma we call this arising and passing away “birth and death”; and this is everything — this is all there is! When suffering has arisen, it passes away, and, when it has passed away, suffering arises again. There’s just suffering arising and passing away. When you see this much, you’ll be able to know constantly this arising and passing away; and, when your knowing is constant, you’ll see that this is really all there is. Everything is just birth and death. It’s not as if there is anything which carries on. There’s just this arising and passing away as it is — that’s all.

This kind of seeing will give rise to a tranquil feeling of dispassion towards the world. Such a feeling arises when we see that actually there is nothing worth wanting; there is only arising and passing away, a being born followed by a dying. This is when the mind arrives at “letting go,” letting everything go according to its own nature. Things arise and pass away in our mind, and we know. When happiness arises, we know; when dissatisfaction arises, we know. And this “knowing happiness” means that we don’t identify with it as being ours. And likewise with dissatisfaction and unhappiness, we don’t identify with them as being ours. When we no longer identify with and cling to happiness and suffering, we are simply left with the natural way of things. — Ajahn Chah, “Living with the Cobra

Already broken

“Do you see this glass?” he asked us. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.” — A story about Ajahn Chah, recounted by Mark Epstein in Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective