Given that today's year-end appreciation feast is organized by our Students' Association, I should refrain from discussing a serious topic that could dampen the festive atmosphere.
However, I have probably had complex emotions about joyous celebrations since my teenage years. On one hand, there's the excitement and anticipation, but on the other hand, there's the sense of nostalgia that lingers when it all concludes. As I've grown older, this feeling of nostalgia often surpasses the joy.
After learning about Buddhadharma, I've come to understand that these emotions represent the suffering caused by attachment and separation. To avoid the suffering of attachment and separation, some choose to become indifferent and unfeeling. However, I believe that the Buddha must have been a compassionate being, or else he wouldn't have felt such deep compassion for all sentient beings.
We cannot make time stand still only during moments of happiness and joy. All joys will eventually come to an end, but their conclusion doesn't necessarily have to be accompanied by sadness. The state of mind the Buddha achieved is the ability to dwell in impermanence, finding ease regardless of sorrow, joy, success, or loss.
In all things, it's often at their conclusion that we are most likely to perceive impermanence, yet impermanence itself is the gateway to enlightenment.
Even though we may not have learned to attain the same level of serenity as the Buddha, let us, as this year draws to a close, express our gratitude for every impermanent moment it has brought. Let us especially appreciate all the individuals who, at some point, in some corner of our lives, have assisted us and illuminated our path.