Dear Friends, Students and well-wishers,
Greetings from the great continent of Africa. From my heart, I extend to each of you warm blessings. I also thank you for your love and support this past year. We have all made a difference in the lives of people in many parts of the world. May this continue into 2007 and may each of you have a happy and spiritually nurturing New Year full of inspiration and right action.
As we welcome the New Year, we take time to reflect. Life is good. Life is beautiful and life is a blessing. It is a wonderful journey full of happy moments and sad moments and sometimes even painful or difficult moments as perhaps most of you have experienced during this past year.
The question is: how can we capture the essence of the past year and make it a positive influence for the new one? We have the opportunity to find meaning and goodness from the past.
We live in a world full of apparent imperfections. Sometimes we get hurt in one way or another or we feel pain. In order to learn from these experiences, we can look at them closely. Taking time to self-reflect will help you to set the New Year in a positive direction.
Start the New Year with an act of forgiveness. Think of someone you need to forgive and make peace with him or her. Find courage in your heart and say “I forgive you and wish you well.” When you forgive others, you create a lot of space in yourself for your happiness to flow freely.
We are human. Because of this, as we interact with our friends and family, it is very easy to get hurt or to do things that hurt the feelings of others. If you know that you have intentionally or unintentionally hurt somebody, now is a good time to have courage to say “I am sorry.” First say it to yourself and then follow it with a genuine act of expressing it. If necessary, have courage to ask “Will you please forgive me?” with genuine concern and willingness in your heart. Accepting responsibility is a way of expressing your strength and wisdom and your life will be more meaningful to you.
Think of one or two positive changes that you can make in your life that will help to make life easier for yourself and others around you. Your willingness to change your behavior positively will open the doors for happiness and peace in your life.
I will celebrate the New Year in Africa, in Kenya, helping some people who are in unfortunate conditions. My first trip of 2007 is on the 2nd of January. I am going to Sudan to help some suffering people there. I will return to the US on the 9th of January and hope to send you an update then. Be well in happiness and peace.
Therevadha Buddhist Center, Nairobi, Kenya
With love and blessings,