From 16th of February to 19th of March my wife, son and I went back Taiwan to see my family. Then we went on to Sydney, Australia to see friends. Since we moved to Canada almost 7 years ago we haven’t went back Taiwan to see my family so, of course, Taiwan has seen big changes. Even Taichung, the city where I lived, has changed. I almost forgot how to get home when we were in the taxi!
While living in Canada, Taiwan became like a far away country to me, even though I lived there over 35 years. Everything I know is held as a memory. Then as I sat on the airplane to Taiwan, I felt everything in Canada, my friends, students…, become another part of my memory. This made me feel that we are not just a passenger when we are traveling; we are also a passenger in a journey of our life.
Once your past 30 years old, I think mostly people feel time suddenly goes so fast. In a moment we are 40 then 50…and half of your life has passed. But sometimes bygones are still clear to the sight. When I was in Sydney I met a person who asked me if I want to see anything or do anything while I was in Sydney? I said, “Not really.” Then he asked me why I was there? I answer him; “I came here just wanting to spend some days with my friend.” I just wanted to enjoy the time spent together with my family and friends. I don’t care where I should go or what I should do. I know after this journey everything will become one part of my memory again. But of course, we saw lots things while we were in Sydney.
In this world after we have experiences with people and things, all of it will become one part of our memory. Then the attachment will bring us the happiness or sadness. Buddhism tells us not to get attached to things or people because it will bring us suffering. But even you live like a monk in a monastery you will still attach to other people and this will still affect you. It is recorded in Buddhist Sutra that when some of Buddha’s disciples died, Buddha also felt sad.
So, since we are born and we die, what really belongs to you and goes with you? Not your money, car, house…all outward manifestations of living. It is your memories that will affect your dying and your next life.