I’ve just got back from the temple. It’s not like Korea, where the temple would be full of people bowing and chanting and praying (how wonderful), in Japan people seem to do a whole lot less, and yet the feeling was great, very positive and very beautiful. It was just my local temple, rarely open except for at New Years, and we joined a short line to ring the temple bell. Afterwards there was a small fire and hot drinks and we said hello to our neighbours.
Earlier, walking in the park, I thought about what my New Year’s Resolution might be this year. Something, I thought, that I could stick to. Something to resolve all this time I spend worrying about the path. I mean, one day I think that just reading a single Sutra is the way forward, then I’ll think about some serious sitting, next thing you know I’m thinking that perhaps I need a retreat or a new altar! My resolution, I thought this morning, would be the answer, the one practice I need.
Silly me. Such nonsense. If I need a resolution, it is to spend less time thinking about practice, and more time actually practicing! The path, after all, is so simple. Let go. Entrust. Have faith that the foundation, under whatever name I might give it, is taking care of everything. Then it doesn’t matter what I do. So long as I’m living by the precepts, I can meditate if I want to, read if I want to, chant if I want to. I can follow any wholesome practice that feels right at any time. I can smile, and live in happiness.
Happy New Year!