Reading The Buddhist Village Times is a pleasure and privilege that I enjoy each month. I feel very grateful that we have the opportunity to have this publication in English dedicated to the path to true happiness. It is precious. Because each and every one of the stories are dedicated towards going towards the light of Amida, no words are wasted, and I feel something special in each letter and story that is printed. Last month I was especially moved by some words of Takamori-sensei that was recorded by his secretary, Kanda koshi. This is a partial transcript from that article:
“Some people write letters to me saying things like, “I could not understand today’s lecture,”
“the lecture did not resonate with me in the least,” “I don’t feel any gratitude,” or “I have no joy.” They think that it is good to write honestly. They don’t realize their terrible sin of slandering Buddhism. They are spitting at the sky. These are negative words that one who seeks
Buddhism should never say. You need to know that negative words will never be a plus but a minus as you seek Buddhism. “It is a rare blessing!” “How precious it is!”
You should strive to feel gratitude by saying these kinds of words.”
I have learned that the words we use shape our life. Affirmations are a popular way nowadays of improving one’s attitude. For that reason when we say things like “I have no joy” “I don’t feel grateful” we are affirming that we have no joy or gratitude; that we are not happy.
Affirmations, whether we speak them out loud or say them silently in our minds, are like seeds being planted. If I think to myself, “I hate the way I look,” I will hardly feel attractive. Or saying “I don’t want to be sick anymore” is not giving the body the right message. We need to clearly state what we want. “I am full of health and optimism.” The next time you look in the mirror, instead of focusing on what you don’t like, say something like, “Hey, good looking!” See how you feel? See if it brings a smile to your face. I bet you are smiling already just reading this. Regarding Buddhism, the point is that we should stick to making only positive statements and avoiding negative comments.
It is not always necessary to speak them out loud. Saying them in silent to oneself is feeding the message, too. I have come up with a few affirmations of my own. You might find these useful, or you will make up your own.
“I have met this most precious of teachings.”
“I am so grateful to have met the teaching that is so hard to encounter.”
“I am deeply fulfilled listening to a Buddhist lecture.” “To have met a true Buddhist teacher is so rare. My life is so blessed.”
“I feel truly blessed having met this teaching. I am so thankful.”
The seed of pumpkin cannot bring about anything but pumpkin. Likewise, as I learn in lectures, a bad cause can never bring a good result. It’s just not possible. As Takamori-sensei teaches, a negative word will never be a plus but a minus as we seek Buddhism.
I am so grateful to have such direct guidance from Zenjishiki on how to move toward the light. Thank you, Takamori-sensei. Your words continually correct my understanding of Buddhism.
An example of expressing gratitude and joy can be found in the same edition of BVT that ran Kanda-koshi’s column. It was a ‘Thank you’ letter to Takamori-sensei from Daren Arroyo in the Philippines. Daren recently became a member, and in the letter she expressed her gratitude at meeting such a teaching. “I am overwhelmingly grateful to listen to your online lectures every Sunday,” and “I didn’t expect I could be as lucky and as happy as I am now to have the chance to know the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.” Her words are an inspirational lesson.
How grateful it is to have this Buddhist newspaper; how grateful it is to have fellow followers who are expressing their joy at having met the teachings of Master Shinran. Thank you.
Frank Costelloe, Los Angeles
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #44 | 2014, Affirmationsnof Joy and Gratitude
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