2016 has come to an end and if social media were to be believed, it was a rough year. The passing on of notable names, inclement weather and national conflicts were among the lowlights that have caused many to brand 2016 as ‘the worst year’.
As we move towards 2017, perhaps with some trepidation, it is worth remembering what the Buddha said to his disciples about the blind turtle, the ox yoke and a planet covered in water.
He asked, what are the odds of a blind turtle swimming in a planet covered entirely of water – who surfaces only once every 100 years – to float up and poke his head through an ox yoke floating around?
The chance of that happening, is minute. The Buddha said that this is similar to how rare it is to be born in the human state.
As we enter into a new year, this is a good time to remember that we are privileged to be born as human beings. This privilege is by no means meant for us to exalt ourselves. After all, none of us can remember what we have done to deserve this privilege – we aced no test and we won no race.
Instead, let us remember with humility that we are blessed with the opportunity to learn the Truth and through our own efforts, realise it. Humility is more profound when it is accompanied by gratitude and together, these two standards may guide us in our service to others. Labels and ideologies aside, this is our opportunity to do as much good as we can for as many as we can.
2017 is not a good year, nor is it a bad one. It is a year for us to use the chance we have, wisely.
I wish everyone a very happy and fruitful 2017.
May the Blessings of the Triple Gem be upon all.