Like a bright beacon of light to guide a tall ship through the darkness, the monastics of the Blue Lotus Temple usher me home time after time. Not only by their loving-kindness, compassion and goodwill, but by their very example that they demonstrate day after day.
Without knowing much about any of them, one could easily assume that they live the easy life. No responsibilities or worries, debt free, and with all their needs provided for by the kindness and generosity of others. But in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. To say nothing of their physical bodies which age and deteriorate the same as the rest of us human beings. Only they have no health insurance or dental plan like so many of us do, and certainly no income to speak of to pay for those visits.
So many things that most are unaware of, go easily unnoticed because the smiles they wear are truly genuine and can light-up the room wherever they go. We feel better about ourselves, happier and more content, all because the way they share themselves so abundantly and graciously, yet ask for nothing in return. Not once do we stop and think how they may be wearing underwear with holes in them, or shoes that hurt their feet.
How do these wonderful and loving individuals do this day in and day out without ever breaking down, and saying “What about me!”. But this is my point exactly. They teach me by example far more than any words could ever do. All of these teachings from the Buddha might mean little to me were it not for seeing first-hand how they apply to real life, to real people.
Gratitude, generosity, compassion, virtue, wisdom, equanimity, and loving-kindness are all abundantly present at all times. It’s not just some face that is put on when they are in public, but the life they live and breathe.
I bring this up today, because I think gratitude it the most important things that we can have. And being a Full Moon day, I think it’s important to point out that it was during a full-moon night in May, that Siddhartha went into deep meditation. And as the morning star appeared in the eastern sky, he became enlightened, the Buddha. And when the Buddha stood up at last, the first thing he did was to gaze back at the tree in gratitude, to thank it for having given him shelter. So by his actions, not words, the Buddha gave us all his first teaching.
And on this Full Moon day in September, I gaze at my Teachers with the same gratitude.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.