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On the art of living
Life is short, energy limited, very limited. And with this limited energy we have to find the unlimited; with this short life we have to find the eternal. A great task, a great challenge! So, please, don'’t be concerned with unimportant matters.
What is important and what is unimportant? In Atisha's definition, or I In the definition of all the b Buddhas, that which can be taken by death is unimportant and that which cannot be taken by death is important. Remember this definition, let this be a touchstone. You can judge anything immediately on this touchstone.
Have you seen the touchstone on which gold is judged? Let this be a touchstone for what is important: Is death going to take it away from you? Then it is not important. Money then is not important –-- useful, but not important, has no import. Power, prestige, respectability – -- death will come and efface them all, so why make so much fuss about them for the few days you are here? This is a caravanserai, an overnight stay, and by the morning we go.
Remember, only that which you can take with you when you leave the body is important. That means, except meditation, nothing is important. Except awareness, nothing is important, because only awareness cannot be taken away by death. Everything else will be snatched away, because everything else comes from without. Only awareness wells up within; that cannot be taken away. And the shadows of awareness – -- compassion, love – -- they cannot be taken away; they are intrinsic parts of awareness.You will be taking with you only whatsoever awareness you have attained; that is your only real wealth. All else is "illth," not wealth
– From The Book of Wisdom, Discourse 21