The New York Buddhist Church

April 7, 2020

Staying home for weeks now because of the coronavirus has made me keenly aware of all the things Ive taken for granted, but at the same time its awakened in me a sense of gratitude for those very same things, the people in my life, my health, science, technology, the gift of planet Earth itself, which sustains us all.  During this difficult time, Ive come to appreciate everything, and everyone, more than ever.  Although being confined to my apartment in New York City for a very long time, I still feel very connected to everyone throughout the world.   As the world has come to a standstill, the global pandemic has drawn us closer.

Im grateful for the researchers who are working hard together worldwide to find a cure, for the environmentalists and geoscientists who are hoping we can learn long-lasting lessons from the global improvement in air quality and the drop in seismic noise due to the lockdown on human activity, and for the heroism and loving kindness shown by so many people all over the world as they support each other.  Living in New York, its heartwarming to hear the nightly cheers and applause in gratitude for the health care workers and others on the front lines who are risking their lives for us.   Its greatly helped me realize more clearly our vastness, and also our oneness.

Will we be doing things differently once this crisis is over?  I really dont know, but if the world can come together and collaborate for this one purpose, then perhaps we can mutually address other serious issues as well.  Its a matter of looking deeply within our hearts and minds and waking us up to the causes and effects of our actions.  Although it takes much more time to mend than to destroy, its never too late to turn things around toward a more positive outcome.   Its basically our ego, our foolishness, that keeps us from working together, but if we can overcome that and wake up to our own responsibility for ourselves and for each other, then anything is possible. 

The teachings of the Buddha, which guide us toward an understanding of the consequences of our thoughts, speech, and actions, also provide us with the universal truths and practices that can lead us to an enlightened future.  Change begins with me.  The choice for a better tomorrow is now ours!