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Relearning Simple Lessons

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

-A Teaching of the Buddha

The pandemic has impacted our lives in so many ways. One of the things I miss most is

spending time with our preschoolers during their monthly temple visit. Greeting their joyful faces at the door, sharing a story, and talking with them was truly the highlight of my day. Despite being there to learn from me, I always came away with my heart full and lessons learned.

Children by their nature are natural teachers. With open hearts and minds, they teach us how we should be. As adults, many of us have forgotten how the happiness of another person is directly connected to our own. We often think of happiness as a pie that we reluctantly share because we want to keep more for ourselves. Children on the other hand naturally understand that happiness is not a finite resource to be jealously guarded but rather is limitless and should be shared freely.

Recently, our preschoolers participated in the Great Kindness Challenge to help cultivate a culture of kindness and compassion throughout the world. They made and delivered floral arrangements to businesses in the neighborhood, waved signs along the highway in front of the temple, and created links out of recycled paper which will be joined with others to create the world’s longest paper chain all connected by messages of hope and love.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, these little ones teach me how we should treat and care for one another. They remind me how truly effortless being kind and compassionate can be. Children implicitly understand how we are profoundly connected by love and they demonstrate it with every fiber of their being. They spontaneously live Amida’s Golden Chain of Love.

I am a link in Amida Buddha’s Golden Chain of Love that stretches around the world. I must keep my link bright and strong.

I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than myself.

I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts, to say pure and beautiful words, and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on what I do now depends not only my happiness or unhappiness, but also that of others.

May every link in Amida’s Golden Chain of Love be bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace.

Happiness inspires happiness just like how one candle can light a thousand. In the hubbub of our lives can we take a moment to relearn these simple lessons that children are so eager to teach?

It could be I am simply missing being hugged by thirty preschoolers as we say goodbye at the end of our time together. That in itself is a remarkable lesson.

I am so grateful for the dynamic working of wisdom and compassion in my life.

Namo Amida Butsu.


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