How heavy the burden is! When a man is conceived in his mother’s womb, the five aggregates appertaining to him have to be cared for. The mother is to give him all necessary protection so that he may be safely born to develop well into a human being. She has to be careful in her daily pursuits, in her diet, in her sleep, etc. If the mother happens to be a Buddhist, she will perform meritorious deeds on behalf of the child to be born.
When the child is at last born, it cannot take care of itself. It is looked after by its mother and the elders. It has to be fed with mother’s milk. It has to be bathed, cleansed, and clothed. It has to be carried from place to place. It takes at least two or three persons to look after and bring up this tiny burden of the five khandhas.
When a man comes of age, he will have to look after himself. He will have to feed himself two or three times a day. If he likes good food, he will have to make special efforts to get it. He must make himself clean, bathe himself, clothe himself. To tone up his body, he will have to do some daily exercise. He must do everything himself. When he feels hot, he cools himself and when he feels cold, he warms himself up. He has to be careful to keep up his health and well-being. When he takes a walk, he sees that he does not stumble. When he travels, he sees that he meets no danger. In spite of all these precautions, he may fall sick at times, and will have to take medicinal treatment. It is a great burden to tend to the welfare of his khandhas, the five aggregates of psycho-physical phenomena.
The greatest burden for a living being is to fend for himself. In the case of human beings, some have to work for a living starting from the age of twelve or thirteen, and for that purpose they have to be educated. Some can get only an elementary schooling and so they can get employment only as menials. Those who can get a good education are profitably employed in higher positions; but then they have to work day in and day out without any break.
But those who were born into this world with past good kamma do not feel the burden. A man born with the best kamma has been fed and clothed since childhood by his parents who gave him the best education as he came of age. Even when he grows to be a man they continue to give him all support to raise him up into a man of position who can fulfill his desires and wants. Such a fortunate man may not know how heavy the burden of life is.
Those whose past kamma is not good never know affluence. As children they know only hunger, not being able to eat what they would like to eat or dress in a way that they would like to dress. Now that they have grown up, they are just trying to keep their body and soul together. Some do not even have their daily quota of rice ready for the table. Some have to get up early to pound rice for cooking. Some do not even have that rice; and so they have to borrow some from their neighbors. If you want to know more about this life, go to poor men’s quarters and make enquiries yourself.