The T'ang poet Yu Wu-ling ends his poem "Offering Wine" by saying that life is full of partings:
Accept the golden drinking cup that I offer.
Surely you will not refuse to let me fill it up.
When the plums blossom, wind and rain increases--
Of separation and parting, this life has its fill.
Every moment of life is a parting with the moment just past. Moment by moment, the present becomes the past even as, moment by moment, it moves into the future. In Buddhism we call this change a repetitive cycle of birth and death. Every moment is change. Whether the change is for good or bad depends on the encounters that each of us has with karma.
An encounter is a situation that brings about some change in us, in accordance with our karma and the karma of each moment, which in Japanese is called en.
When our encounter with en goes well, change will be for the good. When the encounter goes badly, change will be for the worse. Change is regulated by the strict law of dependent origination, which defines the interdependent relationships among phenomena in our daily lives. We tend to think of it, however, as something more capricious and unpredictable, to be feared more often than welcomed.
Some people complain, "Nothing good ever happens to me. I get all the bad breaks." We all experience this kind of despondence at one time or another. What we forget is that the more despondent we become, the deeper we mire ourselves in misfortune and unhappiness.
Human activity can be divided into three types: physical, verbal, and mental. Of the three, mental activity is the most important, because the way we think, the attitude we choose to adopt at any given moment, has a powerful impact on events and on how they will turn out.
Buddhism for Everyday Life