I go to the Buddha for guidance,
I go to the Dharma for guidance,
I go to the Sangha for guidance.
~Vandana Ti-Sarana (Homage and Three Refuges)
During this week, I had to go to the pet store. My cat, Shunki, and the church’s cat, Hanachan, was running low on their food. As I was standing at the counter to pay, wearing a mask I told the young clerk that there were two separate orders. The clerk had to ask, “What?” and I had to repeat what I said.
Wearing a mask muffles and distorts our voices. I have to make a conscientious effort to annunciate my words. I apologized for being sloppy in my speech. The clerk replied that she understood how masks are so troublesome. Being aware of the conditions we are living through, I told this young clerk that a mask is for her safety and the customers. Working in the public so much, its better to be safe than sorry. That comment seemed to put a thought into the clerk. As she was bagging up my food, it seemed as though she was thinking about what I said.
It seems having to follow so many precautions, it has made us cranky. There is a tendency to monku more or complain more. We love to monku. We complain to family, friends, and even to strangers and sometimes to ourselves. This morning I heard myself monkuing about everything little thing. My hair was not right, Shunki wanted who knows what, or people texting or whatever.
Monkuing/complaining is a way of communicating our frustrations or a way we vent our feelings. However, have you ever given thought to how much we complain and what we complain about?
We love to complain. We complain about the weather, sometimes about our food, the service from stores, or having to do household chores. We complain that our rights have been violated, but rights are guaranteed. We are just being asked to think of the safety of others and ourselves.
We are being requested to wear masks, keep our distance, and wash our hands more often. It is okay to complain, but have a solution. Without solutions to our complaints, we are simply relying on others to solve the problem. We do not want to think, but we do love to monku/complain.
We are observing the 4th of July and we may be celebrating through social events. We must use our common sense in order to be safe. It seems we have lost our ability to think. We have become so selfish that we have forgotten to be mindful of others.
We always have Namu Amida Butsu, but do we remember to recite it? We have many teachings, but do we want to remember? Instead of monkuing or complaining, what will our solutions be?
It seems as though the virus has brought out our true self. Some people are kinder, yet there are those who were so sweet before all this chaos, now they show their greed, anger, and ignorance. Can we change? Do we want to change? Do we have the self-awareness to see our true self? Do we truly want to see our true self?
So many questions to ask ourselves and we will continue to complain. As said before, we love to complain or monku, monku, monku. Some of our complaints may be legitimate, yet how do we change this complaint into a positive action, behavior, and thought? We must stop, listen, and think.
We rely on our Namu Amida Butsu for guidance and direction. We are humans who make mistakes, but we also have the ability to think, listen, and learn. We only have to be willing to use these qualities.
We can still celebrate, but we must be aware of using extra precautions. We want others to feel safe and to stay healthy. We want to stay healthy and safe. We can have fun, but we must think and be mindful of others. I wish you all a Always be safe, take care, and most of all, think and be aware of our actions. It is our Namu Amida Butsu to give comfort and to make us aware of our monku or complaining.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano