January 1, 2017 at 9:28 am #1007Rev. Satya Robyn (temple host)Moderator
Words are powerful. My friend chose ‘change’ as her guiding word for 2016, and then promptly forgot it. When she looked back she discovered a year packed with good and dramatic changes.
What word would you like to guide you over the coming year?
As a part of our New Year’s service last night Kaspa asked us to identify the parts of ourselves we didn’t like and reveal them to the loving light of the Buddha. He also asked us how we might be inspired by this warm light to serve love in the world over the coming year.
Up to this point I’d thought my word for 2017 was going to be ‘obedience’ – a greater obedience to the will of the Buddha (or, to put it another way, to the generous will of love rather than the tight, small will of my ego) in my daily life.
In thinking about how the Buddha might inspire me to serve love over the coming year, I told him about my word. Was it the will of love? It was a perfectly good word, he said, but he had a different one for me. Relax.
I sat in the shrine room as we all softly chanted and I saw the rightness of this word for me. I saw that if I can relax whenever anything gets tight, I will be carried along more gently by the river as it swoops around unexpected corners and bubbles and swirls over rocks. I will be released from the expectations that set me up to have bad experiences. I will move towards letting go of compulsions and replace them with spaciousness. I will sink into the inevitable pain of life and pass more quickly through to the other side.
As I type, I can feel my shoulders relaxing. Relaxing will help me to be more obedient, but not in a tight, wanting-to-get-it-right way. I’ll never get it all right – none of us do. I’ll do my best, and when I don’t the Buddha will have my back.
Our word for the temple, by the way, is faith.
What word does the infinite light want you to guide you for the year? Do share it below.
Namo Amida Bu. Blessings for 2017 from all of us here _/\_
January 1, 2017 at 10:33 am #1009Andrew Nicholls (Temple Host)Participant
My word for 2017 is compassion.
January 1, 2017 at 11:45 am #1010Mat OsmondParticipant
Great question Satya. And a happy new year to you all at Malvern, and beyond.
I was going to say ‘unclench’, but that feels a bit accusatory.
So here’s a life-koan of a word, for me, to take forward into 2017: entrust.
My Christmas reading’s run to two whole books – feels luxurious, and a thing I almost never manage – one of which was a re-read of Buddhism is a Religion, a book for which I am more grateful each time I come at it.
Namo Amida Bu, Namo Quan Shi Yin Bosat
January 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm #1018DayamayParticipant
Thanks for posting this Satya.
My word for last year was Prosperity. When I set this, I think that my intention was somewhat influenced by the material connotations of the word and in that sense it could quite easily be percieved as a non-starter.
I recently devoted my life to the Buddha in my monastic training and in doing so renounced my attachment to worldly comforts. “Prosperity” is often associated with, and measured in terms of stuff accumulated, but I was never going to be inundated with expensive or luxurious possesions in my newfound state of self-imposed poverty.
However, I did find an amazing sense of liberty at being released from the pressure that I had previously felt to “succeed” in the world, and a newfound focus on the areas of my spiritual life and practice that feed my faith. This, in hindsight, feels like a more healthy and useful expression of Prosperity, so I consider my last year’s word intention to have been successful.
After my time in France last year I was asked if I could summarise the experience in terms of spiritual learning and development. What came to me was “Patience”. The ability to accept the various frustrations of being human and appreciate the complexed and sometimes(very) lengthy but extremely important healing processes that characterize the spiritual path. This seems like a good place for me to start 2017 from. Hope springs eternal.
Namo Amida Bu( :
January 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm #1019Steve DurhamParticipant
Having a word for the year is a new concept to me, and one that I like! I’m new to this, so my word may change, but for the moment it is “HOPE.” I gave a brief New Year’s Day message to the police officers of the Evanston (Illinois, a suburb of Chicago) Police Department at the first shift this morning. And I told them what I call “The Ballad of Chubby Charlie.” Charlie was a rotund Presbyterian preacher I knew some 40 years ago. A former newspaper editor, he was a tough and no-nonsense kind of guy. When we (young pastors and other church members) got discouraged about our work, or the state of the world, or just life in general, Charlie would take out his Bible — a large leather-bound Bible — and flap it at us and say: “I’ve read the end of the book, and it’s all going to be OK.” 40 years later and I still keep Chubby Charlie on the horizon of my life, above all when I’m discouraged about work, or the state of the world, or life in general. It’s all going to be OK (and that’s the “Ballad of Chubby Charlie.”) We live by the hope of “tomorrow.” Which is not to disparage mindfulness of the present moment, but IMHO we live primarily by hope. Therefore that is my word, thank you Chubby Charlie wherever and whoever you are today. Namo Amida Bu _/\_
- This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Steve Durham.
January 2, 2017 at 10:00 am #1025Rev. Satya Robyn (temple host)Moderator
Entrust, patience, hope – great stuff! Look forward to hearing how they mysteriously affect you over the coming year… love your story Steve.
January 3, 2017 at 11:09 am #1031Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
My word for the year is grace – I like the double meaning: the opposite of rushed movement, and that of being blessed.
January 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm #1032Acharya Sujatin (temple host)Moderator
I wondered what my word would be. My intellect told me that, as a good Pureland Buddhist, I should chose something like Faith or Gratitude. But my heart-mind said, “Hope”. I had a little argument with myself – but Hope wouldn’t disappear – she just stayed and smiled. She had chosen me. So, Hope, it is. Not a stretching out, trying to make anything happen, Self Power Hope. More a feeling of gently turning to watch the sun over the hillside.
January 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm #1033JulesParticipant
My word continues to be: Write. To be continually creative. Even if I put down my pen.
January 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm #1034Acharya Modgala Louise DuguidParticipant
My word is acceptance.
I am growing old, my friends are growing old and some are dying young. This is life and railing against the pain does not help. Instead cherishing all I have shared with them and received from them is the way. It is grace that I have had such friends and still have great friends. I have been gifted an amazing life to have these friends and a wonderful family and to find the grace of Amida and the Buddha’s teachings from my teacher Dharmavidya. Perhaps, in truth, my word is gratitude. Namo Amida Bu
January 5, 2017 at 9:11 am #1037Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
How wonderful to find gratitude from acceptance of what I know has been a difficult year for you Modgala.
I’d like to focus more on writing this year too, Jules, it is always there to some degree of course, but I’d like to move it closer to the centre again.
Hope is lovely Sujatin. A former of prayer, maybe.
January 5, 2017 at 11:03 am #1040
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