To the best of my understanding, Buddhists believe that everything is impermanent. I believe this as well, and I think it’s pretty evident from my life on this planet so far. I’m not going to live forever. You’re not going to live forever. No building or even the Great Wall of China is going to be around forever. No tree will live forever. Humans won’t be around forever. Even Earth will one day cease to exist.
Some people apparently find this perplexing, and sad. I have always found it to be very comforting. It means that no matter how bad things are, how badly you screwed something up, or even how great you’ve done, in the grand scheme of the universe it means approximately nothing.
Why is that comforting? Because it means that we are not living for the future, because the future will definitely not remember us, no matter how famous or important we manage to be. We are living for now, and we are living for the people who are with us and around us. We are trying not to screw things up for those who will come after us, one would hope, but we can only live in the present, and we only exist in the present.
Tibetan Buddhist monks spend days making beautiful mandalas out of colored sand, and then they destroy them. They’re not doing that to be jerks, they’re doing it to demonstrate that nothing lasts forever. Just like that song says, and just like the song is quoted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…all we are is dust in the wind, dude. Dust in the wind. Sometimes that’s the most comforting thought of all.