What Buddhist Book Has Had a Significant Impact on Your Practice?

One day, about 20 years ago, I came to the end of the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness), where the Buddha describes in almost phenomenologi­cal terms the nature of thought. And if I had understood this before more abstractly, I understood vividly now that every aspect of our lives— including and especially our thoughts and feelings—are marked by impermanence. I realized that I can examine my thoughts and feelings and select the ones that are going to be the most useful for helping others and myself. I also appreciated, with a sense of humility, how brief our time is here as human beings. In a universe that is 13.7 billion years old, 90 years is just a point of an “i,” a flicker flash against eternity.

Since then, I’ve been aware in my practice of how ephemeral and short-lived everything is: other people, the beauty of nature, myself. And this leads to compassion. I don’t want to argue with anybody when we’ve got so little time to be here, you know? All of our quarrels and things are short-lived and transitory.

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