Beware of Labels

Unexpected bliss

On the path of wildflowers

Such fragrant urine

People often like to label things. “This is beautiful. This is ugly.” The label is not reality. Unfortunately, it is often interpreted that way.

The label also implies a permanence that does not exist. As the Buddha taught, everything is constantly changing. When we don’t understand this, we attach to the label and cause suffering. Here’s a classic example: “He’s a bad dog.” How many of my fellow dogs have borne the weight of this one? When such a label is applied, a dog’s reputation may be ruined, even if he is a good dog at heart or works hard to become one.

The label “smells like urine” may seem clearly negative to you. But in my own personal experience, that is simply not the case. We should be very careful not to become too attached to the labels that we hear or use.