The Buddha Gotama said,
Like an island is a refuge in the flooding water, your own wisdom is a refuge in the darkness of ignorance (Here are many word plays: light is a play on not only a lamp, but also wisdom or understanding. Island is also a play: "diipa" is a play on the word which connotes island, dviipa, and a specific kind of light, diipa, which connotes a small ceremonial light used to help see without disturbing the darkness, like nightlights don't disturb the darkness of a home but provide guidance - and also connotes wisdom or understanding, safety, guidance - as many small lamps guide one along a path in the dark, especially at Diwali). You have no other refuge than this (light/island).
Whether a person seeks such self-reliance and isolation, or tries to avoid it, everyone is nevertheless an island unto themselves. And finds themselves alone. And in such isolation, one comes to understand sorrow. One comes to understand grief. And pain. And despair.
But you, monks, having understood these as any other person might, should go further and consider the origin of these. Whereas any other person might see change - in their own body, in their friends, in their world, in their beliefs, in their feelings, in their perceptions, in their thoughts, in their consciousness - whereas any other might notice age, weakness, death, a change in anything in any way, and be overcome by an experience of the turbulence (like an island is overcome by a flooding river or ocean), overcome by the ignorance (like a light is swallowed by darkness at a distance), you should consider the origin of these.
Consider: it is by seeing change one understands impermanence. Understanding impermanence, one understands the unsatisfactory nature of things, and seeks something beyond that. It is by gradually experiencing, and seeking (like following guiding lamps in the dark) one arrives at the true nature of reality with perfect insight (as one is guided by a series of lamps to a destination).
Having thus considered, you will not try to stay at one lamp, on one island, but will bravely enter the dark, bravely enter the flood. You will never again hold onto or attach to things, you will sacrifice all that you hold on to. You will sacrifice, you will give up, use up, you will abandon all your despair, your pain, your grief, your sorrow - and even your isolation. You will be unworried by change, turbulence, ignorance. You will be at ease. Even in the dark, even in the flood. You will be your own lamp, your own island, your own refuge. You will not need guidance. Be assured, you will deliver yourself from your precarious situation.
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