An old retired man develops dementia, forgetting this and that… while not forgetting one incident every day awake – the loss of his young granddaughter, which was indirectly his fault due to an accident. Having been a skilful bodyguard to many VIPs successfully in the military, he ironically did not safeguard her enough. It was as if the curse of his memory, even while some other forgotten burdens dissipate, seemingly as a blessing.
Then again, his memory of the tragedy served as a blessing too, as a reminder that he could still redeem himself, by saving a neighbour’s daughter. It did become as if a curse too, a burden he felt compelled to risk his life to resolve. Thus, he plucked up his courage to do what he had to, lest he died with greater regret. In the end, after saving the day, memories of his granddaughter and the neighbour’s daughter seemed to intertwine and interconnect. It is confusion from conflation perhaps, but he makes peace in time!
Whether we recall our misgivings fully or not, once we remember any of them, may we be just as brave and diligent in making amends. This would be the true spirit of repentance – not merely uttering sorry. In the many rounds of rebirth, there are immeasurable chances to redeem ourselves. But if we are to take forever, we will forever live and die with some regrets. Do not take too long, for we do ‘haunt’ Samsara due to regrets!
The good news is, if Amituofo’s (Amitabha Buddha’s) Pure Land is reached by the end of this life, as stated in one of his 48 great vows, we will be empowered to recollect all transgressions big and small from our past lives. We will make sense of them, and more importantly, be able to make up for them. There, memories unearthed will cause neither despair nor attachment. They will only spur us to, with equanimous compassion and wisdom, do better for the welfare of all beings!