Can you smell it? Oh yes, I am talking about turkey roasting in the oven, pies cooling on the counter and the rolls rising on the stove. Your mouth starts to water just by the different aromas in the air. The home is warm from the oven being on all day. We keep asking, “When will dinner be ready?” The person cooking says, “In a bit.” We can feel and hear our stomachs growling from hun-ger even though we have been eating all day.
It is the beginning of festivities, family gatherings and good food. We gather around a dining ta-ble to share the company of family and friends. We laugh, watch football and enjoy the company that is shared by us. We are very fortunate to have people and the Buddha Dharma for support and strength. But do we stop and truly appreciate what has been shared? Do we give any thought to what we are grateful for?
Examining the word “thanksgiving,” it can mean to give thanks. We enjoy all the festivities but do we ever take the time to examine what we are thankful for? Are we mindful of what it takes to provide this scrumptious meal we share with others or are we so preoccupied with other things?
In the Buddhist and Japanese traditions, before and after the meal we express our gratitude to all that has sacrificed their lives so we can eat and to be with family and friends. We begin the meal with itadakimasu, which roughly translate “I humbly receive this food…” However the meaning goes beyond this simple translation. We give thanks to so many people and things.
We share our thanks with the turkey that sacrificed its life for our dinner, the pumpkin that farmers grew and the insects that arrogate the soil. It is our mindfulness to thank the person who furnished the meal for us. But it includes the field workers who work the land, the wheat plant for the rolls and the cows that gave us the butter. Even those who are vegans or vegetarians can share in their thankfulness for the once living things they eat. We forget that it takes many people and many sacrifices to give us a day of festivities.
At the end of the meal, it is Namu Amida Butsu and gochisosama deshita. Our way of sharing our gratitude to all who gave us a full stomach and good company. All these living things have brought us together and given us comfort and allowed us to share time, compassion and a day of gratitude. It is our way of thanking the cook for taking the time to provide us with a meal and for its delicious results
Before we take that first bite, we can look within our selves and think what we are thankful for. We do not have to tell anyone but can honestly give thanks through our Namu Amida Butsu. It is then that we can eat until our stomachs are full and “busting out of our seams” or even take a nap later. We are content and have smiles on our faces. We can be thankful for the Dharma, wisdom of sharing, compassion for others and our gratitude for the sacrifices made by so many things and peo-ple. Namu Amida Butsu.
Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Res. Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
Today I choose to live with gratitude
For the love that fills my heart, the peace
That rest within my spirit and the voice
Of hope that says all things are possible.
*** DATES TO REMEMBER ***
The BLOOD MOBILE will be at the temple parking lot
Dec. 1, 2019 12pm - 4pm
To donate, you MUST have an appointment. Please email
Temple clean up, 9am
People's Kitchen, 9am
Movie Night, 5:30pm
Intro to Buddhism, 6:00pm