In his Stages of the Altruist’s Path, the 5th century Nalanda master, Asanga, taught that gratitude emerges from acknowledging the kindness and the care we’ve been shown by all of life—the kindness of our parents in giving us life, of our human ancestors in tending and caring for the earth and creating our culture and way of life; and the kindness of nature that’s generative and sustains life. This practice requires accepting all of the difficulties and the harm we see and have experienced in a knowing but not passive way; yet sincerely remembering and connecting with all of the good. This is especially relevant as some prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Although it’s a holiday many recognize as an opportunity to express gratitude, it is also a national day of mourning for Native Americans. We must name and honor the entirety of this history. It is what’s necessary for gratitude to emerge.
This gratitude is the essential raw material or starting point for the cultivation of authentic, nurturing love and compassion that represents the spirit of awakening — the wish-fulfilling jewel of the heart.
It is this energy that allows us to take responsibility to change the world in a way that is deeply satisfying to us, protects us from fear and resentment, and supports our true resilience and solidarity.
Please enjoy this short meditation practice on gratitude offered by Nalanda Institute Founder and Academic Director, Joe Loizzo: