Showing posts from December, 2021

Happy Imperfect New Year

The start of a new year offers us the hope of a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate. As we begin the new year, many people make plans to improve their lives through New Year’s resolutions. And it is polite and kind to wish others happiness, prosperity, good health, love, and good fortune in the coming year.   These are great traditions—maintaining hope and offering good will to our neighbors are important. But it’s also important to approach the new year with a sense of humility and realism. Buddhism reminds us that the world of samsara is imperfect and impermanent  and we humans are motivated by self-interest and misguided by limited understanding. The 3 poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance motivate our actions. Given our limited perspective it is easy to set high expectations for the new year and then become discouraged when a goal is not achieved. Remember a year ago when many thought COVID would go away and life would go back to “normal” in 2021! Clearly, we were wrong.  

Seeing is Believing (or is it?)

  With many different winter holidays coming up, I wanted to reflect on how we think about these holidays and our relation to each other. T hese holidays mean different things to different cultures. Here in the U.S. many people look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But there are lots of other holidays that are celebrated here and around the world. Here are just a few examples: Kwanzaa (Pan-African), Hanukkah (Jewish), Bodhi Day (Buddhist), Las Posadas (Latin America), Boxing Day (Canada), ┼îmisoka (Japan), or even Kramer’s favorite, Festivus. Some people here in the U.S. think we should only use the greeting “Merry Christmas”, but “Happy Holidays” could be a more inclusive greeting. It’s all in how you look at it. Different people and cultures have different perspectives and part of our spiritual practice, as Buddhists, is being humble about our own perceptions. At the 74th NW District Buddhist Convention in September, Sensei Koichi Mizushima gave a presentation “Seeing is Believi