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If You Don’t Feel Grateful to Your Parents, It’s Because You Take No Joy in Having Been Born And Being Alive (Part 1)

July 4, 2018

 

Let us read one chapter from a best-selling book written by Kazushi Okamoto, a Buddhist teacher

The most complex problems in human relations are those between parents and children. If you’re having unresolvable problems with someone else, you can change your workplace or move house—in short, live apart from him or her. Even in the case of a husband and wife, if things become unbearable, there is always the possibility of separating. But not with parents and children—no matter where you go, that doesn’t change: it is a relationship that does not end. 

 

There seem to be quite a few people who cannot feel grateful to their parents, people whose inability to forget their resentment or dislike of their parents is a real problem for them. There are all kinds of parents, so there are plenty of cases where the parents are partly responsible for their children’s resentment and inability to feel gratitude. 

 

But Shakyamuni Buddha teaches us that we all owe a great debt of gratitude to our parents. He speaks, famously, of the Ten Types of Major Debts of Gratitude to Parents, but I want here to focus on just four of the ten: 

 

 1) The Debt of Gratitude to Parents for Our Protection in the Womb 

 

This refers to the fact that we have been nourished and protected inside our mother’s body for nine months before birth. Some women suffer so much from morning sickness that they lose a great deal of weight. Even so, calcium is being taken from the mother’s blood in order to form the teeth and bones of the unborn child; and if her blood alone cannot supply enough calcium, nature dissolves part of the mother’s bones and transfers it to the child. No wonder the effects can be the same as suffering from a major illness. Yet even then, the mother calms her mind, refrains from too much activity, and prays for the healthy development of the child within her. 

 

2) The Debt of Gratitude to Parents for Their Suffering at the Time of Our Birth 

 

This refers to the terrible pains that accompany childbirth. The term for the pain of giving birth in Sino-Japanese suggests a military metaphor: For a woman, giving birth is like a soldier going into battle. 

 

To be continued...

 

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #50 | 2015, If You Don’t Feel Grateful to Your Parents, It’s Because You Take No Joy in Having Been Born And Being Alive (Part 1)

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