Today is Thanksgiving in the US, a holiday that where everyone reflects on what we are grateful for.
So what is gratitude exactly? And how are Thanksgiving and gratitude related?
According to the English dictionary gratitude is defined as the “quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. This word comes to the English language from Latin gratitudo which is a form of the Latin gratus “pleasing, thankful”.
In the Buddhist worldview gratitude is the natural response to selfless kindness from others (doing something nice solely for your own benefit is not kindness).
The cultivation of gratitude in Buddhism naturally leads us to the direct experience of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life. By being grateful we in turn cultivate a heart of compassion for all sentient beings.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha
So today, let’s reflect on all those people and things that we normally take for granted and show our gratitude with loving-kindness and compassion. I am grateful for my family who helped me when I needed it the most, grateful that I have a house, a loyal wife, and beautiful children, and I’m grateful to be alive and breathing.
May you and I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings!!!
What are you grateful for? Please share in the comments below!
Also, do you have a Buddhist friend or want to get a gift for a fellow Buddhist? Or anyone you know who is interested in religious studies?