A gift of 4 words from a Japanese Buddhist Temple – part 3

The 3rd word that was received from the temple is Gratitude.

It means being thankful and an attitude of appreciation with a willingness to return the kindness received.



After Shakyamuni Buddha gained enlightenment, he meditated for one week on the Bodhi tree that sheltered him. If even Buddha express appreciation to a tree in such manner, shouldn’t Buddhist endeveour to follow?

Besides, if we live with gratitude in our heart, then we will start to see the beautiful side of this world. By constantly being aware of the small little act of kindness received, we build up the experience of loving kindness. Even a smile and a polite nod of acknowledgement from a stranger can make your day beautiful.

In order to perceive such beauty in life, I think it is important to have a heart that is filled with sense of gratitude. An appreciating heart that has love and kindness.

For example, if my mom were to ask about my general well being, I can get irritated and feel that its an intrusion of privacy or she is being nosy. That inquiry becomes a nag….

However, with gratitude in heart, I began to see it in the light of maternal love and kindness.

The same question with the same verbal tone has completely opposite effect on me. Therefore, its a way of making life more beautiful. Both for myself and others.

By appreciating life, we are happy to be here.

In Buddhism, it is taught that being reborn a human being is a very precious things to happen. It is like striking the lottery because one could be reborn into the many many other types of existence.

If you are reading this and understand the words, then you are much more fortunate. That is because you have a chance to encounter Buddhism and its method of mind training.

Therefore a general advice that various Buddhist masters give to disciples is;

To treasure this very human life, do not waste time and try to practice mind training.

This precious window period allow us to spiritually evolve or advance to a higher conciousness.

To build up the sense of gratitude in our heart, we have to focus on the beautiful side of things. A silent acceptance of life. A willingness to be contented and happy with the present.

So much so that we feel gratitude in the breathe we take, we even feel gratitude with the nature around us.

Two of the meditation practice we can adopt to strenghten a grateful attitude are, loving kindness meditation (condition our mind to be loving) and breathing meditation (condition our mind to reside in the present)

Let’s make this world a better place together by being grateful and appreciative towards one another. May all beings be well and happy.

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