The Future is Better than the Past


Master Hsing YunMost people love a trip down memory lane. They yearn for the past with a tinge of pleasure, because they believe the past is better than the present. However, time will pass and things will change. In a blink of an eye, everything will be different. Although the setting sun might be immeasurably sweet, dusk is only too near. Therefore, if we want a better tomorrow, we should look forward to the future and broaden our horizons without indulging in retrospection.

Once, there was a puppy that ran in circles all day long chasing its own tail. A big dog walked by and was puzzled by what it saw. It asked the puppy what it was doing. The puppy replied, “Haven’t you heard that a dog’s happiness is in its tail? By chasing it, I am going after happiness. Don’t you want happiness in your life?” The big dog said, “All I know is that I just walk forward with all my might, happiness follows immediately behind.” Therefore, we must live in hope and not in our memories, for the future is better than the past; it holds immeasurable potential!

In life, everyone experiences difficulty as well as satisfaction. When things are going well, we must not be overly complacent. When faced with adversity, we must forbear whatever comes our way. We must bear down and weather the storm. Even if we have failed miserably in the past, we must not be discouraged, because past failures are the best lessons for future success. If we learn from our mistakes and make good use of our experiences, we will be on our way to a better tomorrow.

According to the Buddhist notion of cause and effect in the three time periods — the past, present, and future – life is not limited to just one term. Because of the past, we have the present. Because of the present, we have the future. Because of the future, we have the three time periods of the past, the present, and the future. Because of the three time periods, we have hope; the future is yet to come.As long as we are hopeful, our lives will be better tomorrow.

It is hard to judge whether one’s life is a success or a failure at any given time. We can be unsuccessful in how we handle affairs, but we should try not to fail in how we conduct ourselves. We can fail in our past, but not our future. No matter how brilliant we once might have been, it does not guarantee future success. We cannot take the past as an affirmation of the present and the future. Past glory will always be in the past and may not carry into the present or the future. We must thus work hard for the present. However, the “present” will become the “past” as soon as it arrives. The next moment will become the “present.” Therefore, we should not be overly pleased with what we have achieved. Our actions must adhere to the principles of beauty, trueness, and goodness. Our future will definitely be better if we can continuously improve and adapt ourselves.

If we want to progress in life, we should not limit ourselves. We should strive for advancement and breakthroughs without indulging ourselves in past accomplishments. Nobody can help us if we refuse to let go and only live for the past. It does not matter what our achievements might have been in the past. It does not matter how popular we were yesterday. They are occurrences of the past. We should concentrate our efforts on the present for the sake of having a brighter future. Without question, the future is much better than the past. It is full of endless possibilities!

Additional writings and publications by Venerable Master Hsing Yun may be obtained through Fo Guang Shan’s Guang Ming Temple, 6555 Hoffner Ave., Orlando, FL 32822, or through Buddha’s Light Publishing at

Article By: Venerable Master Hsing Yun
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