This lovely poem on the subject of hope, faith and love came to me from Lama Surya Das and I am truly grateful.
It embeds some wonderful teachings about what we can accomplish in our lives, what is true and beautiful and how we are interdependent on others for our happiness.
Nothing worth doing is completed
In one lifetime,
Therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful makes
In any context of history,
Therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, no matter how virtuous,
Can be accomplished alone.
Therefore we must be saved by love.~Reinhold Niebuhr
Consider the life of the Buddha – he was born, left home to go on a spiritual journey, became enlightened, and shared what he learned with thousands of bhikkhu’s and bhikkunis (monks and nuns) as well as lay people because he loved these people and had faith in their ability to pass his teachings along.
He passed away at the age of 80 and his teachings have been passed on from generation to generation until they are now available to anyone who wants to study, practice and observe them.
It was a wonderful accomplishment for a single lifetime (or multiple lifetimes if you have faith in the Jakata tales) and it require the efforts of many people over hundreds of generations to keep the hope, faith and love alive.
Can you think of anyone else whose accomplishments were not completed in one lifetime? Please share.