Isn’t it wonderful that this week we as a country pause to celebrate a holiday devoted to gratitude and giving thanks! We collectively agree to focus on the quality of mind that the Buddha cited as defining what it means to be civilized. In fact, he said it was rare to find in the world people who 1) are first to do a kindness, and 2) who are grateful and thankful for kindness done.
Usually, we equate gratitude with appreciation. We list all the things we are grateful for, animate and inanimate. Although this can be a wonderful practice, we can also realize the Buddha’s exhortation to understand gratitude as a response to kindness. This special kind of appreciation inspires us to cultivate in ourselves kindness that evokes gratitude.
Cultivating kindness and gratitude together, each needs the other to be genuine and heartfelt. Debts of gratitude apply to our benefactors who have acted with our wellbeing in mind, showing us the value of kindness and compassion in the process.
We respond by developing in ourselves qualities of generosity and discernment, becoming persons of integrity, who have learned from gratitude how to be harmless and unselfish in our dealings and to give help wherever needed, thoughtfully and respectfully. In this way, we deeply bow to goodness we have received and allowing its influence to ripple out beyond our small circles into the whole world. In deeply bowing, we express our gratitude by enlarging the circle of our benefactors’ goodness.
Deep bows of gratitude to you for your practice.