A fleeting moment of impermanence

Hi everyone,

Last night I didn’t sleep at all, I was staying up all night doing homework on computer. Our house is small enough that you can hardly sleep at all while I’m tying the keyboard. And that is what’s happened to my parents.

When the sun rises, they both wake up prepare for work, I ask my mom: “Do you feel sleepy?”, “Of course” she replied. After they both leave, I think: "What if they all die out of traffic accident because of me not giving them any sleep? This’s quite bad, I could have done better, from now on I won’t use the computer while they’re sleeping. " Then I continue: “One day I will have to face this, maybe today is the day. I still have grandmom to taking care of, cannot leave college just yet.”

Enough thinking, I go back to doing my homework, soon enough, I feel quite tired and want to take a nap. As I’ve been laid down, reality slowly mixes with the realm of dreams, I see 3 old person talking with each other. While talking, they quickly aging and fall right there dying, their body decompose and they’re all turn into bones, then dust, then nothing. This process happens only few seconds. A thought occur to me: “There’s nothing that last.”

At this moment, my mind suddenly become clear, like I was into a hyper-awareness mode or something, there is no background thought. I direct my mind to that experience, I see clearly that: at that moment, because of seeing impermanence, I become horrified and dispassion for the whole world, I remember the Buddha once said “There is nothing worth grasping”, it is true indeed.

Although my mind was clear but my body slowly building up the tiredness, so I decided to sleep. As I wake up, things get back to normal, although I remember what’s happened but the deep ‘feelings’ aren’t there anymore. I went to the computer continue my homework. A thought occur to me: “There’s nothing that permanent.”


It may also be true that your parent live to be 100, with healthy lives, and do not face a traffic accident. Both outcomes, and many others, are possible. I think that with these thoughts and meditations on impermanence, on death, we open a space to consider deep gratitude toward our parents. We can think of the Sutta that describes carrying our parents with us on our shoulders, and not being able to repay the debt that we owe them for their care of us, their sacrifices. We can also open space for a Metta practice, and wish that our parents (and ourselves) truly be, well, happy, and peaceful.

Life is uncertain. In the face of uncertainty, we can then make a choice to be happy, to be grateful and supportive of those in our lives. We can go about life with the sense that a life well lived is a better life than one lived with worry or negative feelings. Our mood brightens, our work and college studies improve, and in the end, we accept the vicissitudes of life with more equanimity. So, there is nothing that is permanent; let’s celebrate that, and live a life that reflects the Buddha’s Eightfold Path.

Just some thoughts on your excellent post, La Văn Tiến. May you be well and happy.