Friday, November 27, 2009
I like Thanksgiving because it focuses on giving thanks...
I found a buddhist blessing that I was going to read this year and to end the blessing it said "Itadakemasu," like for the amen (Japanese). But then i couldn't find the blessing to read but did remember the Itadakemasu, and gave everyone at the table a chance to say it with me.
It's more than just thank you for the food. It's like thank you for all things you have received since creation. Thank you for not just the food, but for the cow (or turkey or pig) that gave their life, for the farmers/ranchers that tended the animals/grains/veggies, the harvesters that harvested it all, the butchers that killed/chopped/prepared them all and the grocers who sold them all, the cooks who cooked it and the servers who served the food. Anyone and anything that touched this piece of food, from GOD to grocer to cook to eater, for all of you I give thanks.
Meals in Japan traditionally begin with the phrase itadakimasu (literally, "I humbly receive"). The phrase is similar to the phrase "bon appétit," or grace, used in the case of some individuals, at every meal. It is said to express gratitude for all who had a part in preparing the food, and in cultivating, ranching or hunting edible food of plants and animals. This originates in the consideration that living organisms are giving their life to human beings as Dāna.
I've decided it's a great mantra word to repeat over and over. So, pronunciation is like this:
ee tah dah kee moss (the u is silent in most dialects, but in some there is a slight oo)
for me it works best on the tongue with the slight oo at the end.
ee tah dah kee moss oo
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A call to bring the world together…
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
High powered, well off, entrepreneurs and preachers are banding together to preach the same "gospel" (I KNOW, scary isn't it?): If you don't have the best/newest/most expensive of anything you desire, including perfect health, you aren't believing/praying/wishing/dreaming/imagining/collaging/vision boarding (did yours come from Oprah.com? Mine did!!!) in absolute positivity and perfect faith (never letting a doubt creep in) and are, therefore, sabotaging your entire LIFE. It is, folks, all your fault that you don't have 3 cars, a big screen TV, a nice house, fabulous jewels and perfect health AND a guaranteed "get out of hell" card with a free ride to heaven!!!! Sounds good, right?
The problem is that humans are not geared to be 100% positive, 100% of the time. And the burden of trying to do so heaps guilt and frustration onto an already overburdened nervous system. Trying to live up to these standards is hazardous to your mental health!!!
What started this musing was an email story about a "treasure room in heaven" in which are stored all the blessings that GOD/Divine/Universe wanted to bless/gift you with IF you had simply believed/prayed/wished/dreamed/imagined/collaged/vision boarded in absolute positivity and perfect faith, BUT YOU DIDN'T, so said blessings/gifts are still locked away in said treasure room. Cars, money, health, TV's, clothes, jewels, whatever your little heart desires, is sitting in that room just waiting for you to come up with the right combination of or words to believe/pray/wish/dream/imagine/collage/vision board. And when you GET THAT RIGHT MAGIC COMBINATION of belief/prayers/wishes/dreams/imaginings/collages/vision board, then and ONLY then will you receive your treasure...
What is it I pray/wish/dream for/of? I want the money to go visit my mother (found on the kitchen floor with blood sugar of 30 and almost comatose) before she dies. I want to be able to go see my father (rushed to the hospital with pulmonary edema from feet to armpits/diagnosed with congestive heart failure & enlarged heart ON TOP OF his already diagnosed COPD). I'd like to be able to afford a new pair of jeans from Walmart. I'd like to be able to have enough money to help my daughter, who's man isn't working now for 2 months. When my other daughter lost her job and couldn't find a job for 11 months, I'd have liked to have been able to help out. When my first grandson was born, I'd have liked to been able to go see him (as he spent several weeks in PICU).
On a more frivolous note, I'd like a working car to be able to drive into the woods and walk and rest in nature. I'd like the work I'm doing on exercising and weight to show some progress. I'd like my hair to stop thinning. I'd like the winter depression (happens as soon as we "fall back" into darkness each fall) to leave me alone...
But I have evidently not mastered this magic prayer/belief/dream/imagining combination. Nor has much of the world. And then I beat myself up for not having mastered it. Why CAN'T I figure this out if it's so simple? I'm NOT utterly stupid you know? And it becomes another burden on my sometimes overburdened emotional life, threatening to capsize the fragile boat in which I navigate life. And then I cry...
And then it's OH NO...a negative thought!!!! I've just perpetuated the negativity that has denied me the blessings of life I already don't have!!!! And the vicious cycle goes on and on and on...
Or maybe I'm just a whiny baby? Maybe that's the problem...OH NO!!! Another negative thought!!! LOL. Ohmygosh, it's freaking impossible I tell you...
Oh, and lest you get me wrong, I am totally and amazingly blessed in life with the people I love and who love me. I am blessed with a house in which to live (many in the world have shacks or nothing). I am blessed with the ability to buy food, every month, to nourish my family (3/4s of the world cannot do this). I am blessed with a fairly decent public transit system (even in America, many people don't have this). I have a job (and in this economy, that is such a blessing). I have much for which I am utterly thankful.
Oh, yeah, there are things I don't have that I want, even that I perceive as "needs", but in the scheme of worldly things I am blessed. So don't think this is one of those "oh, she has so much what is she complaining about" things. It's not.
It's a call to examine what kinds of burdens what we think and teach lays on people. And a call to tread more softly with the hearts of the people around us. Truly we can never really see the burdens a heart carries...