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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

How Are We Treating Life?

Nov 04, 2014 04:35PM ● By Seijaku Roshi

Any effort to change one’s life, to liberate oneself from distress and anxiety (suffering) and the causes of suffering begins with asking the “right questions”. “How’s life treating you?” is not the right question. Life is always objective, never personal. Right now we are witnessing a process called “season changing”. This has been happening as far as we know since the “beginningless” past, certainly during my own lifetime. This process which is interconnected with a larger process is not happening to me or anyone, it’s just happening. That’s what Life does.

The problems most of us face at any given time in life has more to do with “how we are treating life”. Do we take care of ourselves? Do we eat right? Exercise regularly? Get plenty of rest? Meditate? Pray? Do we take care of the life we have? Are we always pursuing more, better or a different life? Complaining? Envying? Jealous? Are we grateful? Knowing and asking the right questions helps us get to the right answers or solutions toward making necessary changes. The “wrong” question clouds and minimizes our ability to see what’s necessary, it distracts us from the cause or causes for our distress and dissatisfaction.

“Even if the Sun were to rise in the West, the Bodhisattva Knows only One Way.” For the Spiritual Warrior, the way we live our lives is central. It is the first and last question of the day. For the Bodhisattva, there’s only one question which always ends in one answer. Life is much simpler than you think; all the complexes of life we experience are of our making. We are where we are at any given moment because of the questions we’ve asked and the decisions we’ve made by asking those questions.

Here’s a question I try to ask everyday: “What am I grateful for?” Here is how the Buddha shaped the answer: “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” There’s never a time for any real reason to not be grateful. Grateful people are happy people, loving and successful at whatever they do.

Always ask the right question:

“What am I grateful for today?”

Happy Thanksgiving! - Seijaku Roshi

Seijaku Roshi is the abbot of Jizoan Monastery at the Pine Wind Zen Community, located at 863 McKendimen Road, in Shamong. For more information, call 609-268-9151 or visit

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