As death can occur at any moment,
this is the moment to get ready.
The Fiscal Cliff was a point in time (end of 2012) for the American economy, when certain tax policies expire, and if there is no implementation of a balanced approach for governmental spending and taxing to reduce the existing financial woes, this could lead the nation off the edge, falling into the valley of another recession. Due to the country’s huge debt problem, there is a proposal is for less big spending on that deemed less necessary and more taxing of the wealthier, who have more than necessary. However, excess reduction of expenditures and excess raising of taxes could hurt jobs, purchasing power and thus the economy as well. The tricky part is agreeing upon what is the ideal balancing point. Being the cause of the mess, cutting unsustainable selfish greed would be crucial.
Somewhat inspired by this very material problem, let us look at a parallel – what I shall call the Spiritual Cliff – that possible point ahead, when there is a deep plunge into the abyss of existential crisis for the individual. While the steepness of the Fiscal Cliff, how near the edge is, and effects of falling off it can be approximated with knowledge of policies and changing economical conditions, the Spiritual Cliff’s proximity and impact are difficult to calculate, at the mercy of sudden change of karmic fortune, often accelerated by unchecked wayward ways, and pressure under fire. This recurring cliff, in this life and in life after life, symbolises climaxing points of life’s mountainous hurdles, the final being the pivotal moment of facing death and its uncertainties for those not ready.
While the Fiscal Cliff is avoidable, the cliff of death cannot be escaped, unless one is enlightened in time in this life. Given that this is a tall order for most, there is another approach – by practising sincere mindfulness of [Amita(bha)] Buddha (Amituofo) with the right Faith and Aspiration so well, that instead of falling off the deadly cliff, back into the sea of Samsara, it is used as a runway and springboard to take off towards Pure Land, where there will be no more cyclical bobbing up and down in the ocean of life and death, where enlightenment will be in good time. The challenge for now, before life expires, is to increase and balance our compassion (based on Bodhicitta to benefit all beings) and wisdom (to know how) as skilfully as we can to facilitate reaching Pure Land.
Aware of the uncertainty of our rebirths,
the Buddhas encourage us with certainty
to seek birth in Pure Land.
Small Is Beautiful
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)