The Past, the Future, and the Present 

(On New Year Resolution)

Talk transcribed from Sunday Service at Zen Center, 12/31/2006 (Part Three)

And we should not cling to the future, fantasize about the future, or have unrealistic expectation about the future, but we should plan the future. Planning the future tells us what to do now.

We should not cling to the present. We should not cling to the pleasures or resentment of the present. When you get angry now, let it go. Let the anger go. As you cling to the anger in the present, it is already in the past, so you are clinging to the past. Then you missed the fresh moment. You missed the next moment. You are not living in the present anymore.

So, the Buddha Dharma is very subtle. We should not misinterpret it. If you think: do not cling to the past, do not cling to the future, then we just do whatever we like to do now, without reflection, without planning. That is a complete misunderstanding.

So the past and the future are in the present. They all intersect at the present moment. It is in the present you think about the past, and so your past affects your present. When you examine your past, you can learn how to be a better person, by doing things in a better way. And it is in the present that you plant the seeds for the the future. So really, the past, the present, and the future are all in this present mind.

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