It has been more than two years since I finished reading “Shogun“, the first book of ‘The Asian Saga’ series of James Clavell. It introduced me to a feudal systems of Medieval Japan. The book revolves around the first British sailor – pilot who crashes on Japanese coast and a very powerful daimyo Lord Yashi Toronaga who is a main contender in a race to the Shogunate. Japanese philosophy is scattered throughout the book in a form of various quotes and dialogues between various characters. However one particular thought stayed with me the most.
“How beautiful life is and how sad! How fleeting, with no past and no future, only a limitless now.”
Lord Toranaga, thinks when he is pondering about his situation in whole feudal system and a race to the Shogunate, the arrival of the Englishman in his province, possibility of clash between the Englishman and the Portuguese Christians at the same time.
“Live in the moment” is what we have always been told when one starts to dwell in the past or is daydreaming about the future. Brooding over what we missed in the past is not going to help us unless and until we learn from it and move on. At the same time, thinking about the future just enough to plan for our today’s action is perfectly alright, in fact, is necessary to be successful. However, dwelling either in the past or in future always make us lose the joy of the present.
I remember a very heart touching scene from an animation movie Kung Fu Panda where Master Oogway gives his last and best teachings for Po, the Dragon Warrior. “There’s a saying, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the ‘present'”. Teachings of Master Oogway and the pondering thought of Lord Toronaga share the same belief.
We have always been taught to keep working on your job in hand, neither think about what fruits our efforts will bear nor worry about if we have missed something in the past. Unnecessary worry of future and regretting the past will only make us lose the moment in hand. In a way just like Clavell said, life is a very sad thing which lasts only for a moment. We can’t control the future nor can we change the past. But at the same point, it is very beautiful if we enjoy that moment. The only thing in our hand, is to live in “a limitless now”.
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