With our routines upended by this week’s public health efforts to contain the coronavirus-covid-19 pandemic, this may be a good time to revisit the profound Buddhist teaching that all our experience is ultimately no more real, solid, lasting or reliable than a dream. Last week we were complaining about going to work, our kids were complaining about going to school, restaurants were packed, Disneyland was open, March Madness was about to begin, and you could buy toilet paper in any supermarket. This week — it’s all gone. Just like last year’s winter and last night’s dream.
We have a song for this, and so does the Buddhist tradition. First, ours:
Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: life is but a dream.