Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude on Thanksgiving (sutras)

Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero (editors), Wisdom Quarterly, Kataññu Sutras (AN 2.31-32) based on Ven. Thanissaro, a.k.a. Geoffrey DeGraff (trans.),
(Saturday Night Live, November 2015) Surviving family: Adele's Thanksgiving Miracle ("Hello")
"Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given." - Gautama Buddha
SUTRAS: Gratitude
Kataññu Sutras (AN 2.31-32)
As video above shows, it's all about gratitude.
"Disciples, I will teach you the level of a worthy person and the level of an unworthy person [in terms of worthiness of offerings, reverence, hospitality, merit, with the fully enlightened person being the most worthy, one ennobled by one's own action, for which offerings are most meritorious]. Listen, heed well, and I will speak."
The Buddha in Himalayas
"Very well, venerable sir," they replied.
Then the Blessed One [the Buddha] spoke: "Now what is the level of an unworthy person? An unworthy person is ungrateful and does not gives thanks. This ingratitude, this lack of appreciation (thankfulness), is advocated by regressive people. It is entirely on the level of unworthy persons.

The Buddha, Bimaran casket
"A worthy person [on the other hand] is grateful and appreciative (thankful). This gratitude, this appreciation is advocated by progressive people. It is entirely on the level of worthy persons."
{II,iv,2} "I tell you, meditators, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Who? One's mother and father. Even if one were to carry mother on one shoulder and father on the other shoulder for a century, and one were to look after them by bathing, anointing, massaging, and rubbing their limbs, and even if they were to urinate and defecate right there [on one's shoulders as infants do on parents], one would not thereby pay or repay one's parents.

See how much I love you, mom and dad! (RSK)
"Moreover, if one were to establish one's mother and father in absolute sovereignty over this planet, the great earth, abounding in seven treasures, one would not thereby pay or repay one's parents. Why? It is because mother and father do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them, introduce them to this world.

Be content. Buy Nothing Day
"But anyone who rouses one's unbelieving mother and father, settles, and establishes them in confidence (conviction, saddha, faith), rouses one's unvirtuous mother and father, settles, and establishes them in virtue (sila, beneficial conduct), rouses one's stingy mother and father, settles, and establishes them in generosity (dana, charity, liberality, openhandedness, giving), rouses one's foolish mother and father, settles, and establishes them in wisdom (insight, knowledge, discernment) -- to this extent one indeed pays and repays one's mother and father."

The Lessons of Gratitude
Ven. Thanissaro (ATI)
Put me down, dad! I can raise myself! (GWR)
Two people are hard to find in the world. Who? The one who is first to be kind, and the one who is grateful and thankful for kindness."
— AN 2.118

In saying that kind and grateful people are rare, the Buddha is not simply stating a harsh truth about the human race. He is advising us to treasure these people when we find them, and -- more importantly -- showing how we can become these rare people ourselves.

Kindness and gratitude are virtues we can cultivate. They have to be cultivated together. Each needs the other to be genuine -- a point that becomes obvious when we think about the three things most likely to make gratitude heartfelt:
  1. You've actually benefitted from another person's actions.
  2. You trust the motives behind those actions.
  3. You sense that the other person had to go out of his or her way to provide that benefit. More

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