“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”
This quote attributed to the Buddha is as important today as it was when it was stated over 2,000 years ago. The modern world is so busy that it may feel pointless completing daily tasks or important ones. We may feel that the tasks will just keep coming no matter what we do. However, it is important that we keep moving. For one day, we will not be able to complete our activities. Death may come as Buddha wisely pointed out.
What does this mean exactly? Well, from my interpretation, we may feel that we can just push off today’s tasks to tomorrow. We may feel that we will always have time. Alas, that is not the case. The blessed abilities and health we may posses now can vanish like a sweet dream. Therefore, we must use them and finish our tasks lest we are caught without these gifts. Nothing is sure. We cannot be sure that we will have our skills and health tomorrow, so we must use them when we have them. This is what the Buddha is warning us to do.
For me, it is easy to slack on writing these articles. One day passes and another before I realize that my deadline is soon approaching. I can write this article another day, I think. However, this can result in a rushed product. Taking care of our tasks when they come is a healthier option and prevents us from becoming completely submerged and overwhelmed. As a result, to not be a hypocrite, I am writing this article well in advance of my deadline. By taking of our daily challenges, we can get ahead. By being ahead, we have more time to create solutions to future problems and perhaps become more effective in accomplishing our daily chores.
For example, there may be a pile of clean dishes that need to be put away. Rather than doing it the next day, do it immediately. This will prevent you from agonizing about the pile and will help future you. I guarantee that your future self will be most grateful. Additionally, if you need to complete an assignment for work or school, get it done. It will be better for you in the long run. Lastly, if you see that someone needs help, help them now. You may not be able to tomorrow. Like my previous articles, the time is NOW. It is a lesson that I have to constantly remind myself to heed.
So, if you have some corn to harvest or a report to type, do it now. You will surely be rewarded with some stress-free relaxation when you finish and perhaps, a grain bin full of lucrative corn. These tasks may be hard work but be glad in the knowledge that you can complete them, this may not always be so. With the wisdom of the Buddha, I wish you good luck. 

• James Durdan works on the family farm in Grand Ridge and enjoys writing about history’s philosophers and how their enigmatic quotations relate to today’s world. He can be reached at tsloup@shawmedia.com.

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