The New York Buddhist Church

April 14, 2020

Take a deep breath, isnt it great to be alive during uncertain times like this?   Dont let negativity and fear control you, make room for positivity and hope!  As human beings were always looking to do things one way, but the coronavirus has taken us out of our comfort zones and pointed us in the direction of doing things in other ways, maybe even in ways weve never thought of before.

If we give in to the darkness of negativity, then were trapped with doubt and fear, but if we open ourselves up to positivity then were letting in the light that brings hope, and our minds become clearer  and better able to explore different means of perceptions and connections.  We can now begin to enter the vast ocean of Dharma, universal truths!  Slowly by slowly, we notice more aha moments that change our perceptions and expand our personal abilities to see, through a newly realized awareness, a bigger and more universal picture of all things.  As human beings there is always in us this inner desire to survive, to live, and through mindfulness and deep listening, we can find answers that guide us toward a more hopeful and better tomorrow.

Even though almost everyone is confined to their homes right now, people are breaking out of their shells and doing such things as phoning people they havent spoken to in a long time, and shedding tears and having compassion for people theyve never met.  There is an overwhelming sense of gratitude and deep feeling for everything they had taken for granted in the past, and in particular experiencing gratitude for all the heroic acts of kindness and selflessness that are taking place all over the world.  These renewed and new connections, this sense that were all in the same boat, have opened our hearts and minds to connect with everyone else.  This awakening has helped us to realize that we truly are one with all things!

Sadly, thousands have already passed away and still more will come because of the virus.  However, their deaths should not go in vain!  Their passing should always make us further aware of the reality of whats going on, and constantly remind us to be grateful and thankful for their lives, and our own.  We should acknowledge them by openly saying thank you.  Their passing will help future generations understand the actuality of this terrible illness, and help scientists and researchers create a cure that will provide us with much needed optimism and hope.

In Buddhism, by reciting the Onembutsu, we express our deep thankfulness and feel a deep sense of gratitude that we are not forsaken, and not alone.  There is something out there that unconditionally accepts us for who and what we are, and enlightens our paths and our shared humanity toward all.

So take a deep breath, listen to comforting music, take time to smell the flowers, to hear the birds sing, or even to look at photos of your family and friends.  Just as I am thinking and concerned about them, I now know that they are also thinking and concerned about me.  Namo Amida Butsu.