Buddhist Reflection: Hello, Goodbye


Over the weekend while I was visiting my sangha I picked up Inquiring Mind , a Buddhist journal. In it there was a  piece written by Spring Washam, founding teacher of East Bay Meditation Center (a great Oakland based Buddhist community for POC and LBGT by the way).

In her article Washam talks about what enlightenment means to her. For her, enlightenment suggests freedom in every moment.

…examining the truthfulness of every belief, every thought, every story about myself and the world…it this even true? No, it’s not. Can I know that this is accurate?No!-all my beliefs and assumptions were up for grabs.

Examining your beliefs just to let them go. Such a powerful and simple yet complex idea. This letting go. It’s the crux of the Buddhist path and the most difficult. Go figure right? Washam goes on to describe this insight she experienced in regards to a friend of hers.

I saw my friend walking by on a deck, and it came to me: Hello, goodbye. I started to see, This is my friend, but one day we will part. It was a powerful insight that every moment is “hello” and then “goodbye”. It was hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye.

What a beautiful concept. Hello, goodbye. After I read Washam’s article I reflected on how different we would treat things if we met them with “hello” and “goodbye”. These simple greetings remind us of the impermanence of every moment. I think that if we remained mindful of this we would meet every moment we experience with appreciation, and we would be  more willing to let our experiences go. We would understand that every moment is a gift, a gift not to be wasted.

This is a great lesson for me. I am currently in the middle of a life altering decision that will uproot me and possibly take me out of the country for a few years. Knowing this has made me extremely aware of the moments I have with those who I am close to. Wasting time is not an option for me. I don’t want it to be. Mindful of this lesson I know that when I greet others with “hello” I am truly happy to see them and I will be able to let go of the life I have created here when it is time for me to say “goodbye”.




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