23 April 2012

Gratitude (Again...)

Just this morning my dharma brother texted me out of the blue: "Just so thankful for everything."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  I can't shake the conviction that the surest sign of someone's emerging insight is the continual welling-up of gratitude on their part.

I poked around and saw that the sutras record that the Buddha was of a similar mind:
"Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity."
That pretty much sums it up.

I know that my own failure to be grateful is directly proportional to my degree of self-centeredness.  Being demanding, being impatient, wanting things "my way" – these are all signs of rudeness and lack of gratitude on my part, and they show up far too often.  When that happens, the point isn't to force out a half-hearted "Thank You" and return to matters at hand.  Instead, when that happens, the point is to get back to my practice, to continue to let body and mind fall away, to settle back into the precepts and their sure guidance.  Whenever I manage to do that, in however small a measure, I always find myself more and more grateful. 

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