I am thankful Vajramati came to New York City and taught me meditation, that he remains here to build the sangha here in NYC. I'm thankful to Dhammarati for coming across the pond for GFR retreat. I'm thankful to all the other order members who support the ordination process in the USA. I'm thankful for the order existing, so that I can seek ordination into it. I am thankful to Sangharakshita for founding the order, and all that went into that.
I am thanksful for the teachings, which have been passed on. I am thankful for the sangha which allows me to support others, and supports me in my efforts to close the distance between myself and the Buddha (still a long distance, but getting shorter).
I am thankful for my wife who has not tried to block my spiritual development. Though she dislikes me leaving the family for whatever reason, she negotiates within her level of comfort, and that allows me to go on week long retreats. At times I have not gone on retreat, done things with the sangha. But there is a balance and I am confident that we can continue to negotiate this balance. Of course my wife is more to me than the freedom and sensitivity around the issue of this spiritual path. She is much more to me than that, and for that I am also grateful.
I am thankful to my boys for their spiritual challenges, the way they have exposed areas for growth.
I am thankful to my family, past, present and future. I am thankful to those who have supported me, allowed me to have the strength to be at the level I am. I am thankful to the level of support I get from the family today, in so many ways. I am thankful for what I expect will be further support, and my being able to support others, in the future. I could go on about specifics, but I won't. It takes more than a village to raise a child, but one village has been my family. I am truly grateful for them, including my in-laws, the family I married into.
I am thankful to all my academic teachers. Teachers in schools are a gift. I thank them all past and present. I am thankful to the government and country which created these fine schools, and sustain them. I am thankful for the school my son's go to, and all the excellent teachers and staff there.
I am thankful to all the medical personnel who have sustained my health.
I am thankful to all my friends throughout my life. I treasure past and present friendships.
I'm thankful for all the people that support my existence. The people who built the co-op I live in, the people who grow, harvest and transport and store my food. The people who sustain the wonderful subway, built roads, all for swift transport. I'm thankful for the amazing technology that allows me to learn more and communicate.
I am grateful for my abilities, including the one to be thankful now.
To be honest I haven't really followed what is going on in Burma. But watching this video, I feel the passion for the worthy cause, as Danny Fisher updates us on the situation there. He is thankful for his liberty, which is not a given in Burma. Watch this important message.
Here's the letter I sent out to family, friends and peers:
I will be meditating for 12 hours (all night) beginning December 12th to raise money for youth in India. Please support me and the youth of India.
The ex-untouchable movement, lead by Ambedkar over 50 years ago, is a more than worthy cause. This hero Ambedkar, when he was a kid, had to sit outside the school and look through the window because he was "untouchable". Imagine that. He ended getting 2 Ph.Ds and helped to write India's constitution, which outlawed caste prejudice. And yet caste prejudice and abuse still thrive in India for the ex-untouchables. People are frequently murdered. There are many grizzly details that are shocking and horrible. Caste prejudice is an abomination.
To combine spiritual individualism and spiritual altruism, we've created an event to test ourselves, and raise money for a worthy cause, like getting sponsors for a running marathon. But this is a meditation marathon.
Unfortunately you can only donate in pounds. The exchange rate is about 2-1, though the dollar seems to be strengthening, so I donated 5 pounds, which is about $10-11. About one dollar for every hour I meditate.
Ayya Khema in her book Be An Island, asks questions, to question oneself if they are giving right effort: "Have I really tried today? Have I extended myself to my personal limit, or did I take it as easy as I could today? Did I try to increase my self-discipline a little more than yesterday? Did I try to get up five minutes earlier? Did I try to remember two more lines of the teaching? Did I try to sit longer in one position or concentrate a little longer? Did I have fewer negative thoughts today?" (p. 73).
What would my questions be to test my right effort? What are yours? Would you write different questions? Perhaps memorizing text isn't as important to you, but maybe being kinder is, so how would you ask that? Shoot me a comment to let me know if you have different right effort questions for yourself.