I feel the need to take a moment and write a little bit about some things for which I’m thankful. Thankfulness isn’t really all that difficult for me, I think, but I rarely write it (or type it) for others to see.
First and foremost in my mind; my feeling of gratitude for the teachings of the Buddha, and the venerable practitioners who keep these teachings alive, is beyond words. I have the opportunity to practice, to be a better human being, and it is because of every Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni who has practiced in earnest, and in doing so, passed on a great lineage of liberation.
Further, I am thankful for the vast community spiritually-inclined people with whom I have become acquainted with both online and locally, none of which have disparaged my chosen path, and all of which I’ve been able to talk to without having disagreements based on personal bias.
I am particularly thankful for my wife, who, when I started studying Buddhism, I was fearful would leave me, somehow resulting in my children growing up to think I was some sort of devil-worshiper. While we’ve had our tough conversations, and I’ve had to take a hard look sometimes at my motivations in the way I help raise our children, she has surpassed even my highest possible expectations. Nothing lasts forever, but I greatly appreciate how she tries to not let things get any more difficult than they have to be, and I think we live harmoniously (or mostly so) as a direct result of her efforts.
I am especially grateful to know that, in spite of the nearly constant chaos throughout the world, there are good people everywhere trying to do their best to make the world a better place. From one region to another we find people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, and in any group you may find a few that are instigating strife, but never do these few represent the whole of humanity.
I’m gladdened by the fact that I am confident in the knowledge that we all, ultimately, experience the result of our actions. Where there are instigators, those with vile intentions, their evil follows them much like a terrible stench that lingers around a dung heap. Their actions will revisit them, and it need not be my task to take retribution upon them. This releases me from any obligation to feel frustration or anger with anyone in the world because I no longer see their actions as anything substantive in relation to my own.
I hope that, upon reflection, you may find that you are also thankful for a great multitude of things in life. Let this gratitude be daily a shaping force, and I’m sure there will be no end to the things you can be thankful for.
May you find peace and be well, friends. I will write again soon.