The Reality of Mankind 2
First of all, Sakyamuni Buddha referred to the traveler as each and every one of us as human beings. It wasn’t only the Buddha who said it in this way. Many sages and wise men of old described life as a journey, and people as being travelers.
Our life is like a journey. Last year’s journey has ended and this year’s journey has begun. When this year’s journey ends, next year’s journey will begin. So it continues.
If a person is a traveler, there is something he must always bear in mind. It is the direction in which he must travel. In other words, he must know the destination of his journey. Likewise, we too must know the purpose of life.
What is the objective of living? We call this the purpose of life, but people are not aware of this are travelers who travel without a definite destination. And that just doesn’t really make much sense.
The traveler was trudging all alone in the autumn dusk. It represents the solitary state of our life. Why is human life so lonely? Sakyamuni Buddha indicates the condition of human life as, “Alone we are born, and alone we die. Alone we come, and alone we depart.”
We were born alone in this world, so we will die alone. Our journey is all alone from beginning to end. Even though we may have company for our physical body, there is no company for our soul. No matter how many people you are surrounded by, there is still no one who can understand your soul completely.
A vast wilderness represents the history of our True Self. This physical body will die within the span of a hundred years or so. However, Buddhism teaches that our life is eternal. Our physical body can be compared to a bubble on the surface of a great river. A bubble forms and disappears instantly, without even bothering the flow of the river.
The white bones represent the death of our family, friends, acquaintances, and people we know. We are shocked whenever we see or hear about their deaths. That feeling of shock is referred to as having seen the white bones. It includes the panic or pain we feel when we observe natural disasters and tragedies on the news. Come to think of it… we have been trampling over such scattered bones – the deaths of others – for all these years.