We usually think of our life as fifty years, sixty years, maybe the most around one hundred years. I once read that there are about thirty-three hundred people who are more than one hundred years old, the oldest being 112 years. (What are people doing living such long lives?)
Dogen Zenji said that living a long life without awareness is almost a crime. On the contrary, he emphasized that even if you live one day with a clear understanding of what life is, the value of that one day is equal to many, many years of living without awareness.
We are all so concerned with how long we will live. We feel that living eighty, ninety, or a hundred years is a wonderful life. Maybe so, but wonderful compared with what? Compared with those who die young?
- Wendy Nakao