Expressing our Gratitude: Four Conversation Starters
One way that we express our gratitude is by placing our hands together in "gassho" as seen here in this picture taken in 1959 when our beautiful gingko tree was planted by the Gomonshu, the leader of our Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition.
It involves thinking about and/or discussing these 4 questions that you can reflect on quietly or can be a topic of conversation at your holiday gatherings.
1) Who were all the people—the relatives, the teachers, the friends, the ancestors, and the strangers--who have contributed to me being the person I am today? What would my life be like without them?
4) Finally, think about all your pets, houseplants, and all the wild plants and animals that have enriched your life. Remember the joy and beauty they have given you.
We have received a lot from others in order to have the lives that we are now living. Having thought about how much we have received, we can also think about ways of sharing compassion, insight, joy, beauty, comfort, and care with others. This kind of sharing is at the core of our spiritual practice--a practice that grows from our own gratitude and appreciation for our lives. And it is at the heart of the Buddhist teachings.
In case you are wondering, this is what that little gingko tree planted in 1959 looks like now!
Even if we can’t ever fully repay our many debts to those who have been compassionate and generous toward us, we should not give up trying. We can honor those who came before us by making sure that we continue to share the gifts we have received with others.
And feel free to share things that you are grateful for in our comments section!
Namo Amida Butsu
Rev. Anne Spencer,
Assistant Minister, Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple