To my fellow Buddhists out there: Heed Kris’ admonition! Do not think you have “good” karma and are thus immune to an “early” death. Do not judge a person’s life by its length. The beautiful life condition we nurture through gratitude for each moment is what we carry forward to the next moment. Yes, life is eternal but moment to moment happiness is not —especially if squandered in pursuit of things that do not matter. Nichiren was fond of quoting the Nirvana Sutra: “Bodhisattvas and mahāsattvas, have no fear of mad elephants [symbolic of causes of accident death” “A mad elephant can destroy the physical body, but an evil friend [symbolic of superficial or misleading teachings] destroys the Dharma body.” “A mad elephant is merely an enemy of your body, but an evil friend is an enemy of the good Law.”

Just choosing to be born in this world brings with that choice the karma to engage with its necessary multitude of competing microscopic life and travel its necessary walkways and roadways. You have accepted these risks along with everyone else when you chose to be born here. So, prepare as Kris encourages and be responsible in a humble way for the misfortunes of yourself and others and gratitude for any opportunities to increase your capacity for joy and help others do the same.

SGI Buddhist, Loves Irish and Latin American Literature, History buff, knows a great deal about Medicare

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