Breathing In, Breathing Out

Master Jingzong; English translation by Foying, edited by Jingxing

Human beings are naturally greedy, always lusting after more than they receive. But such a mindset of “getting something for nothing” contradicts the very law of nature.

When breathing, for example, it would be ludicrous to only inhale and not exhale – as if the air we take in could be greedily hoarded in the body. An exchange must take place: exhaled air is naturally replenished by inhaled air, and the amount we inhale is equal to what we exhale.

Each and every breath we take is a gift from heaven. But in order to survive, we must continually release our breath in order to capture it anew. In this process, how is it possible to be greedy?

According to the Buddha, “Our life is only as long as one breath.” Chinese people also describe the ne’er-do-well as “Mei Chu Xi” (“without exhaling”). We would do well to reflect on these truths!

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