Why talk about gratitude on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States? Buddhists around the world are cognizant, daily, of the principle of appreciation. Thanksgiving has become a commercial holiday celebrated once a year to give thanks. Contrary to popular belief, rather than being originated by the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving is actually attributed to the “Wampanoag Indians who introduced the Pilgrims to their harvest festival.” Wampanoag Elder, Gladys Widdiss noted in an earlier article “With Native Americans you do not separate the spiritual from the rest of your life.”
This attitude of gratitude is very much in tune with the Buddhist principle of appreciation. The appreciation for all people of diverse differences regardless of belief has been an attraction to Westerners who chose Buddhism seeking a belief which conforms with the realities of their environment. Reverend Gilbert Reid, D.D., a Christian missionary wrote a remarkably enlightening book titled “A Christian’s Appreciation of Buddhism.” Reverend Reid’s remarks are quite evolved in respect to a solution for contending with the difficulties in accepting religious differences:
“It is not our purpose to give a complete exposition of Buddhism, but an appreciation. The courteous, and also most beneficial, thing to be done by the follower of one religion is to point out the excellences, not the defects, of the other. This is like looking in the light, and at the light rather than trying to peer into darkness.”
Soka Gakkai International, a worldwide, lay Buddhist organization existing, significantly in 192 countries offers the following:
"Gratitude is the key to unlocking a more open and rewarding perspective on life. Feelings of appreciation are always accompanied by the elevation of one's state of life and the broadening of one's perspective. And, the more our life expands, the more profound our sense of gratitude becomes, to the point where we can feel appreciation even for the problems we face in life."
If we look closely enough at ourselves with an attitude of gratitude we may find we are more alike under the hood, than we are different. Many will attest that our differences are simply bodywork anyway.
The author does not write in any official capacity for any organization. The views represented here are exclusively those of the author.