Gautama, Be Careful All the While!

John 4

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. 36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Leviticus 25

46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a possession for ever; you may make slaves of them, but over your brethren the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness.

Preparation for Eternity

Religions do not expound on the reality of a future life merely as a comfort to the bereaved or as an opiate to the oppressed in this life. rather, the fact of a future life enhances the purpose and sharpens the meaning of earthly existence. how a person lives on earth mainly determines his or her ultimate destiny. a wise person lives in this world with an eye toward eternity.
Indeed, it is generally taught that life in this world is the only chance we have to prepare for life in the next world. the link between deed and retribution is not severed by death; rather we reap in the eternal world the fruits of our actions in this life. Just as importantly, a person’s qualities of character survive death: as a person in this life was hard-working or lazy, generous or miserly, courageous or timid, forgiving or begrudging, so will he or she continue to be in the afterlife.
Therefore, the wise person lives with an eye to eternity by following religious precepts, repenting for mis-deeds, and seeking to clear up all accounts before the day of his death. For one who is prepared, death is not to be feared. but for those who are heedless and do not prepare, death comes suddenly, fearfully and leaving them with regret. as Father Moon teaches, souls in the spirit world breathe the air of love; therefore, unless they have cultivated on earth the capacity for love, they will find the spirit world suffocating. hence, the measure of our future happiness in the eternal world is the ability to love that we cultivate during earthly life.

  1. Live this Short Earthly Life in the Light of Eternity

This world is like a vestibule before the World to
Come; prepare yourself in the vestibule that you
may enter the hall.
Mishnah, Avot 4.21 (Judaism)

The Marrying Maiden:
The superior man understands the transitory
In the light of the eternity of the end. 10
I Ching 54 (Confucianism)

Better is one hour of repentance and good
works in this world than all the life in the world
to come, and better is one hour of calmness of
spirit in the world to come than all the life of
this world.
Mishnah, Avot 4.22 (Judaism)

A rare chance, in the long course of time, is
human birth for a living being; hard are the
consequences of actions; Gautama, be careful
all the while!
Uttaradhyayana Sutra 10.4 (Jainism)

And we see that death comes upon mankind…
nevertheless there was a space granted unto
man in which he might repent; therefore this life
became a probationary state; a time to prepare
to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless
state which has been spoken of by us, which is
after the resurrection of the dead.
Book of Mormon, Alma 12.24 (Latter-day Saints)

If any do wish for the transitory things of life,
We readily grant them such things as We will, to
such persons as We will. But in the end We have
provided hell for them; they will burn therein,
disgraced and rejected. But those who wish for
the things of the hereafter, and strive for them
with all due striving, and have faith—they are
the ones whose striving is acceptable to God.
Qur’an 17.18-19

We are on a market trip to earth:
Whether we fill our baskets or not,
Once the time is up, we go home.
Igbo Song (African Traditional Religions)
As the fallow leaf of the tree falls to the ground,
when its days are gone, even so is the life of men;
Gautama, be careful all the while!

As the dewdrop dangling on the top of a blade
of grass lasts but a short time, even so the life of
men; Gautama, be careful all the while!

A life so fleet, and existence so precarious, wipe
off the sins you ever committed; Gautama, be
careful all the while!
Uttaradhyayana Sutra 10.1-3 (Jainism)

In the evening do not expect [to live till] morn-
ing, and in the morning do not expect evening.
Prepare as long as you are in good health for
sickness, and so long as you are alive for death.
Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 40 (Islam)

O people! Fear God, and whatever you do, do
it anticipating death. Try to attain everlasting
blessing in return for transitory and perishable
wealth, power and pleasures of this world.

Be prepared for a fast passage because here you
are destined for a short stay. Always be ready for
death, for you are living under its shadow. Be
wise like people who have heard the message of
God and have taken a warning from it.

Beware that this world is not made for you to live
forever, you will have to change it for hereafter.
God, glory be to Him, has not created you
without a purpose and has not left you without
duties, obligations, and responsibilities…

You must remember to gather from this life
such harvest as will be of use and help to you
hereafter.
Nahjul Balagha, Khutba 67 (Shiite Islam)

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