[ Dhamma Talk ]
A Lucky Night
A Lucky Night
Not living in The Past
Not anticipating Future's store
The Past done gone
The anticipated never-here
Now this, now that, each now-arisen thing
seen just for what it is
Discover and cultivate the mind
Doing duty's doing, earnest, invincible,
for who knows one's day of death?
An sure's no bargain to be made
with Death's great army on the march.
Thus living ardently
as by day so by night
A Lucky Night is that!
Such is as the wise and tranquil sage did say.
The key to this formula is the line "Unfixed, Unmoveable." Living in the past, one is "fixed" for the past is unchangeable; living in anticipation of the future, one is constantly at the mercy of change. So it is only while seeing things in the here and now as they really are, and that while doing one's various duties, that learning and understanding can be used to cultivate the mind.
This is one of a number of suttas which are given by multiple individuals, sometimes (as in this case) in differing forms. In the first case the Buddha's explanation is that living in the past, anticipating the future, and being defeated with regard to the present is a matter of identification with the kkhandhas. Maha Kaccana's version describes the three in terms of the consciousness of the individual being bound up in the six senses (the salayatana) and taking delight in them and, with regard to the present, taking action on desires.
I think it's fair to say that one who lives unfixed, unmoveable and undefeated in any of these ways can be said to be having a Lucky Day, any day he is living like this.
For the Access to Insight, Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation see: An Auspicious Day