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December 31st
Jen Chen Buddhism
Thanksgiving Day

By Venerable Master Shen Kai

In our life time, countless benevolence has been bestowed upon us from many people. The year has passed and we should take time to remember the benevolence we have received and to express our gratitude to those who have improved or contributed to our lives.

1. The grace of our parents: Our parents gave us life and

worked hard to provide for our well being and education. They harbor us from harm and shower us with love and tender care. The grace of our parents is so immense, as deep as the ocean and as high as the mountains. Therefore, we should reciprocate the grace of our parents, even though it is difficult to repay them in entirety.

2. The grace of the sages (Buddhas, Bodhisattva, Sangha)

and other teachers: Since young, from school days to stepping into the society, we have had various teachers who educated and impart their knowledge to us with skills necessary to make a living. Without their contributions, how are we able to gain a foothold in the society? Besides them, there is another group of teachers who inspire our wisdom and brightness. These are the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Sangha who spread and promote the Dharma. Their teachings nourish our impoverished hearts and minds, unfold our wisdom, guide us to liberate ourselves from afflictive emotions and sufferings, and lead us to brightness. As human beings, we not only work hard to ensure our survival; more importantly, we should seek the continuation of our wisdom life. For this, we need the guidance and teachings of wisdom teachers, and we must be grateful for their contributions to our lives.

3. The grace of our society and sentient beings: The society we live in is an aggregation of various conditions. It is difficult for any individual to survive on his own, eg. Farmer's toiling in fields provides us with food. The clothes that we wear, the house that we live in, vehicles that provide for our transport, and etc, are all made possible by the hard labor of sentient beings. Indeed, many aspects of our daily life are made possible or easier at the expense of blood and sweat shed by fellow people. We must therefore be grateful for the grace of our society and sentient beings for all that we own and use.

4. The grace of the protection of our country: The grace of our country and its security safeguard our livelihood and wealth. A good government, stable economy, good education and infrastructure all provide for a better standard of living for which we all enjoy. As citizen, we should appreciate the grace of our country.

Jen Chen (Humanity Vehicle) Buddhism promotes this teaching of reciprocating for the graces that we have received, therefore marks this last day of the year as Jen Chen Buddhism Thanksgiving Day so that we can acknowledge our benefactors from the deepest recesses of our hearts. We reciprocate their kindness by progressing ourselves, such as eradication our self-serving temperaments and habits, being conscientious in discharging our duties and responsibilities, contributing ourselves to the well being of society and performing virtuous deeds to benefit others. In this way, we create a harmonious and blissful life for all.

January 1st --- Bliss Day

January 1st is an auspicious and blissful day not only because it is the first day of a new year, but also because it coincides with the birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva. It is stated in the Buddhist Scriptures that about 5.6 billion years from present time, Maitreya Bodhisattva will be born into this world. He will attain supreme enlightenment to be the next Buddha after Sakyamuni Buddha.

Maitreya Bodhisattva's birth into this world will bring immense blessing and bliss to humanity because by then, the earth will be a pure land and humanity will be much more prosperous than now. This is due to our cultivations of purifying our mind, bodily actions and speech, and the virtuous deeds that we perform. Therefore, this good cause begets the good karma of a pure land.

Hence, New Year's Eve, being the Eve of Maitreya Bodhisattva's birth, is called Bliss Eve. On Bliss Eve, the Bliss Child who is a Bodhisattva in manifestation, and who cared about the bliss of humanity, will come to take away sufferings, vexations, distress and evil from humanity. At the same time, he brings bliss and brightness to humanity.

With the objective of promoting Human Bliss Culture, Jen Chen Buddhism names January 1st as Bliss Day, and hopes that everyone will come to know what bliss is, how to pursue bliss and ultimately, to acquire bliss.

~ By Venerable Master Shen Kai ~

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