There is all the time in the world.
Then there is none. - Mike Ladd.
The Buddha-dhamma pulses with life. Even the distance of 2,500 years has not obscured the way for the earnest seeker. The path is clearly marked. Why delay any longer? - Bhikku Sobin S. Namto.
The most common product of the human mind is the excuse. Note these familiar phrases: “I'll do it later.” “Can't you see I'm busy?” “I have other responsibilities.” “There are so many distractions.” “I never have time.” “I have bills to pay.” “As soon as I come back from my holiday.” “I'd like to, but...”
The Buddha constantly beseeched his followers to act promptly and seek liberation for themselves. He pointed out there are many secluded places, such as the roots of trees and empty buildings, where it would be possible to meditate with diligence, and he urged all on the path to seek out this seclusion as a matter of urgency. Immediately the excuses arise: “What kind of tree?” “What if the owner of the building comes back?” “Can't I just do it here, in my comfortable room?”
Of course, the place doesn't matter. Even in the Buddha's era, it never did. In one playful sutta, reluctant monks are fretting over dangers. "What if we are bothered by the heat, the cold, the rain? What about insects, snakes or wild animals? What if we are attacked by robbers? What if there is a famine and the villagers turn on us and refuse to give us alms?"
The Buddha's answer to each of these fears is the same: if that is the case, you had better get on with the task. Act now, when things are calm, when there are no immediate dangers, so that if such trivial things arise, they won't be of any concern. Even his final words were filled with this sense of compassionate urgency: “Behold now, seekers. I urge you to keep in mind that all formations are vanishing from moment to moment. So strive on with diligence.”
He knew very well that even a small drop of insight will relieve the thirst of unsatisfactoriness and stave off fear and pain. But he also knew that liberation, the unbinding from stress, can only be obtained through persistent, sincere action. Better some small effort now, rather than large amounts of later regret.
The teachings of the Buddha are not a form of gospel; in and of themselves they are not sacred. They are meant to be assessed first-hand, then, most importantly, put into practice. Only then can one find out if they yield results. It is the truth towards which the words in the Tipitaka point that ultimately matters, not the words themselves.
(Photograph is of cave temple in Laos.)